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WMO Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory
and Assessment System


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The SDS-WAS programme at WMO

SDS-WAS was established in 2007 in response to the intention of 40 WMO member countries to improve capabilities for more reliable sand and dust storm forecasts. Research forecasting products from atmospheric dust models may substantially contribute to risk reduction in many areas of societal benefit. It will rely on real-time delivery of products.

More than 15 organizations currently provide daily dust forecasts in different geographic regions. The SDS-WAS integrates research and user communities (e.g. medical, aeronautical, agricultural users). SDS-WAS is established as a federation of partners organized around regional nodes. At the moment two nodes are established: the Northern Africa-Middle East-Europe Node (hosted by Spain) and the Asian Node (hosted by China). The SDS-WAS mission is to achieve comprehensive, coordinated and sustained observations and modeling capabilities of sand and dust storms in order to improve the monitoring of sand and dust storms to increase the understanding of the dust processes and to enhance dust prediction capabilities.

Scientific background and modeling of sand and dust storm events

SDS-WAS Implementation

Organizations currently delivering or developing SDS systematic forecasts


Objectives of the SDS-WAS

  • To enhance operational SDS forecasts through technology transfer from research.
  • To improve observation technology.
  • To provide users access to forecasts and observations.
  • To promote research and applications related to the sand and dust storm process.
  • To build capacity of countries to utilize SDS products.
  • To build bridges with other relevant communities.

Regional Nodes of SDS-WAS




2nd International Conference on Atmospheric Dust (DUST2016)

Conference website:
SDS-WAS announcement:
Session on Atmospheric Dust Modelling and Forecast:

8th International Workshop on Sand/Duststorms and Associated Dustfall

Conference website:
SDS-WAS announcement:



SDS-WAS Steering Committee Kick off Meeting and the 1st Africa/Middle East Expert Meeting and Workshop on the Health Impact of Airborne Dust
(Amman, Jordan, 2-7 November)

Programme Meeting
Information Bulletin


SDS-WAS and ICAP multi-model products


Regional Center for Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe 


Apr 29: SDS-WAS and ICAP multi-model products routinely plotted side by side
Apr 24: Sand and dust storm. Forecast services
Apr 8: Manuscript on dust model-lidar intercomparison open for public discussion
Mar 9: Analysis of Dust Event over Eastern Mediterranean on 1 February 2015
Mar 9: Oman: biggest dust storm in over a decade
Mar 4: Dust outbreak over Senegal and Cape Verde
Mar 4: Forecast evaluation for winter 2014-2015 already available
Mar 4: Services disrupted for electrical maintenance
Mar 4: Dusty February in the Middle East
Feb 25: Atmospheric-Optics Laboratory: Lidar quicklooks
Feb 16: Activity Report 2014 of the Barcelona Dust Forecast Center


We encourage you to submit dust-related news and announcements for publication. Email:





  • The Izaña Atmospheric Observatory (GAW Station) observed in
    July 2010 a Saharan dust intrusion in Canary Islands.
    Read more

  • A new photometers AERONET station was set up in Cairo
    The SDS-Africa project aims to reinforce atmospheric monitoring capacity of aerosols in the north of Africa. In the near future, the setting up of another two photometers in Tunisia and Morocco is planned. Read more

  • Spanish Government continues to support the activites of the SDS-WAS Northern Africa-Middle East-Europe (NA-ME-E) Node
    An agreement between the State Meteorological Agency for Spain (AEMET) and the National Supercomputing Center-Barcelona (BCS-CNS) was signed  making Barcelona the official home of the Sand and Dust Storm Warning, Advisory, and Assessment System (SDS-WAS)'s Regional Centre for Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe. This centre will provide access to observations and research and semi-operational predictions of sand and dust events by models that incorporation these aerosol into numerical weather prediction models. In addition to the model predictions, a reanalysis product also provides a long-term record of sand and dust events that is critical to studies of health impacts. The WWRP gratefully acknowledges the participants in this project and the Spanish government for their continued support. Read more

Past meetings and presentations


3rd Training Course on WMO-SDS-WAS Products
(Muscat, Oman, 8-12 December 2013)

7th International Workshop on Sand/Dust Storms and Associated Dustfall
(Frascati, near Rome, 2-4 December 2013)


17 July: The 4th Training Course on WMO SDS-WAS products will be
held in Casablanca, Morocco
4 July: DREAMABOL model joins the model inter-comparison and forecast evaluation
4 July: What is the benefit of ceilometers for aerosol remote sensing?
23 June: Near-real-time dust alert in Italy
20 June: The EMA-RegCM4 model joins the model inter-comparison and forecast evaluation
10 June: The Barcelona Dust Forecast Center has been presented
7 May: WMO Virtual Lab: on-line talk on sand and dust (in French)
24 April: Severe sandstorm hits Northern China
2 April: Saharan dust over the UK

International Cooperative for Aerosol Prediction (ICAP) 4th Workshop: Aerosol Emission and Removal Processes, 14-17 May 2012, ESA/ESRIN, Frascati, Italy

WMO Training Course on Satellite Meteorology and Remote Sensing of Atmospheric Sand and Dust Storms (SDS) (Barcelona, Spain, 8-19 November 2010)

WMO Meeting on SDS-WAS Region for Asia, Third Meeting of the Regional Steering Group (RSG), Tsukuba,Japan,7-8 March 2012


Report of the Meeting of the WMO SDS-WAS Regional Steering Group (RSG) for North Africa - Middle East - Europe (NA-ME-E), 25-26 November 2011, Antalya, Turkey


Workshop on the Implementation of the WMO SDS-WAS Asia Node (Seoul, Korea, 28- 30 October 2009)

ESA/WMO Expert Consultation Meeting for Development of Satellite Products relevant to Sand and Dust Storm Prediction and Assessment (Barcelona, Spain, 8-9 September 2009)

The 2nd Training Course on WMO SDS-WAS, Antalya, Turkey, 21-25 November 2011

I.R. of Iran Meteorological Organization (IRIMO)/WMO Training Workshop on Dust Storms, Tehran, Iran, 18-20 October 2011 [Brochure and poster]

1st International Workshop on the Long-Range Transport and Impacts of African Dust on the Americas, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 6-7 October 2011

The Sixth International Workshop on Sandstorms and Environmental Impact Assessments will be held in Glyfada-Athens, Greece, on 7-9 September 2011


First Meeting of the Regional Steering Group of the SDS-WAS for the regional node North Africa/Europe/Middle East (Tunis, Tunisia, 24-25 November 2008)

First Meeting of the Regional Steering Group of the SDS-WAS for the regional node Asia (Bejing, China, 4-6 November 2008)

3rd International Workshop on Mineral Dust (Leipzig, Germany, 15-17 September 2008

Meeting of the Writing Team for the SDS-WAS Implementation Plan (Athens, Greece, 9-10 June 2008)

WMO SDS-WAS/GESAMP Expert Workshop on Modelling and Observing the Impacts of Dust Transport and Deposition on Marine Productivity (Malta, 7-9 March 2011) 2007

The WMO/GEO Expert Meeting on an International Sand and Dust Storm Warning and Assessment System (SDS-WAS) Barcelona, Spain, 7-9 November 2007


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