A record-breaking dust episode took place in Crete on 22 March 2018. The event was characterized by surface concentrations exceeding 1 mg/m3 for a period of 4–7 h, reaching record values higher than 6 mg/m3 at the background station of Finokalia.

This type of dusty southerly wind is commonly known as “Khamsin”. As the flow approached Crete, Foehn winds at the lee side of the island favored the downward mixing of dust towards the surface, resulting in local maxima of PM10 in Heraklion and Finokalia. The analysis is based on the combination of high-resolution WRF-Chem simulations reaching up to 1 × 1 km grid space over Crete, ground-based and satellite remote sensing of the dust plumes (PollyXT LiDAR, MSG-SEVIRI, MODIS) and detailed surface aerosol in situ measurements at urban (Heraklion, Chania) and background (Finokalia) stations in Crete. The results of the study have been presented at the 38th Annual EARSeL Symposium in Chania and published in Atmosphere journal .