Ten days after a dust cloud from Tunisia brought coloured snow and rain to parts of Europe a deep trough over northern Africa triggered a major dust outbreak that swept across Libya, Egypt, the Mediterranean Sea and Turkey in February 2014.
08 September 2022
26 February 2014
The case is very typical for the beginning of March, the peak month for large-scale dust outbreaks over northern Africa. See also these cases from March 2004 and 2007:
Dust storm over West Africa and the Canary Islands
Sahara dust outbreak across the Atlantic
Large dust fan over Northwest Africa
As can be seen in the animation, the RGB colour of the dust varies throughout the day, from dark magenta/blue (night) to bright magenta (midday).
This is typical for thin dust clouds at low elevations (1–2km) over desert surfaces, when the temperature contrast between the dust cloud and the underlying surface changes a lot from day to night.
Thin dust clouds at high elevations do not show such a strong colour variation, but appear with a more stable reddish colour.
The dust caused airports in Tel Aviv and Haifa in Israel to close and in Cyprus it was reported that dust levels were up to five times the normal levels.
Download Dust RGB product with geopotential height of the pressure level 300hPa, 28 February 2014, 12:00 UTC (Credit: EUMeTrain)
Video of the dust over Fethiye, Turkey
Cyprus Daily news story
Haaretz news story
NASA Earth observation case study