Dust storm over the Canary Islands

Dust storm over the Canary Islands

25 August 2004 00:00 UTC

Dust storm over the Canary Islands
Dust storm over the Canary Islands

On 25 August 2004, Meteosat-8 observed a large plume of Saharan desert dust blowing over the Canary Islands.

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Published on

25 August 2004

The dust plume, which is best seen in the High-Resolution Visible (HRV) image, was drawn into a low pressure system situated to the north-west of the Canary Islands. Advected by southerly winds, the dust also reached the Iberian Peninsula later in the day.

Other features seen in the animated HRV images are:

  • The effects of trade winds blowing from the north-east, forming stratocumulus cloud over the northern parts of the Canary Islands (Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Palma).
  • Dust coming from the south-east is ascending above the inversion, which is lower in the east and higher to the west.
  • The mixing of dry, warm Saharan air with cold, moist Atlantic air, resulting in the 'drying out' of the stratocumulus clouds (warm, dry air + cold saturated air = moderately warm, but unsaturated air). This mixing of air masses largely destroys the low-level inversion.
  • Towards the end of the animation sequence, a very big convective system can be seen in the lower right corner of the image, located over western Sahara.
Met-8, 25 August 2004, 17:00 UTC
Figure 1: Meteosat-8 RGB Composite NIR1.6, VIS0.8, VIS0.6, 25 August 2004, 17:00 UTC
 
Met-8, 25 August 2004, 17:00 UTC
Figure 2: Meteosat-8 HRV, 25 August 2004, 17:00 UTC. RGB HRV, HRV, IR10.8. Animation (08:00–19:00 UTC)
Met-8, 25 August 2004, 17:00 UTC
Figure 3: Meteosat-8 IR12.0–IR10.8 Range: -4 K (black) to +2 K (white), 25 August 2004, 17:00 UTC
 
Met-8, 25 August 2004, 17:00 UTC
Figure 4: Meteosat-8 RGB Composite VIS0.6, IR12.0–IR10.8, IR10.8–IR8.7, 25 August 2004, 17:00 UTC

Additional content

MODIS image of the dust storm (25 Aug 2004, 12:05 UTC, 1km resolution. Source: NASA)