The analyses of aerosol samples and deposition (wet) measurements during August 1991-December 1992 at Erdemli (36 degrees N, 34 degrees E) located on the Turkish coast of the eastern Mediterranean has shown higher dust concentration and total deposition during transitional seasons (spring and autumn) compared to summer and winter seasons. The data, complemented by three-dimensional (3D) air mass back trajectories and satellite observations suggest that North African and Middle East desert derived dust particles are transported to the region during transitional seasons. Transport events in the last part of March 1992 and early October 1992 are studied through combined analyses of ground based and satellite observations and modelling results. It is shown that dust transport constitutes a large fraction of the annual atmospheric deposition in the eastern Mediterranean, with two deposition events of short duration accounting up to 30% of the total annual flux. Therefore, the dissolved and particulate species associated with dust could be extremely variable in the mixing layer during large deposition events and could easily be missed in a short-term sampling program. The possible impact of large pulses on biological productivity of the sea also warrants consideration, (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.