Sahara desert

Dust over south-eastern Europe

30 and 31 March 2022

Sahara desert
Sahara desert

In late March 2022, just days after much of Europe was covered by Saharan dust, parts of south-eastern Europe were again under the influence of a dust-infused system.

Last Updated

01 April 2022

Published on

31 March 2022

By Ivan Smiljanic (CGI)

The dust-infused system appeared as yellow to orange pockmarked clouds on the Meteosat-11 Severe Convection RGBs captured at 08:00 UTC on 30 and 31 March (Figure 1 and 2).

Meteosat-11 SCON, 30 March 08UTC
Figure 1: Meteosat-11 Severe Convection RGB, 30 March 08:00 UTC
Meteosat-11 SCON, 31 March 08UTC
Figure 2: Meteosat-11 Severe Convection RGB, 31 March 08:00 UTC

There are some indications that cloud systems dropped less rainfall than expected, which might be contributed to presence of dust in them. What is certain is that DIBS clouds (Dust-infused baroclinic cyclone storm) have much longer life time than comparable storm clouds with no dust, hence often contributing to additional errors in numerical weather prediction forecasts (e.g. prediction of maximum temperatures).

A view of the DIBS clouds through the NOAA-20 VIIRS Cloud Phase RGB product reveals both the cumuliform structure (to a lesser degree than in the SEVIRI images, due to a high Sun position around midday and absence of shadows), and the fact that ice crystals on top of these clouds are relatively small. Small crystals are seen in pale blue shades in this RGB scheme, compared to the darker blue ice clouds over Czechia for instance (water clouds are white to pink shades). This RGB product will soon to be available with future FCI instrument on board the MTG-I1 satellite.

NOAA-20 Cloud Phase RGB, 30 March
Figure 3: NOAA-20 VIIRS Cloud Phase RGB, 30 March