Single cell thunderstorm cloud

Large convective system develops over Tunisia

3 September 2013 12:30 UTC

Single cell thunderstorm cloud
Single cell thunderstorm cloud

An upper level disturbance triggers the development of numerous thunderstorms over Algeria and Tunisia.

Last Updated

04 May 2023

Published on

03 September 2013

A very large convective complex can be seen over western Tunisia, starting in the morning hours and further growing through the rest of the day. The convective outflow boundary of this system can be seen moving southward resulting in cloud clearing over the desert area of Algeria. In the afternoon hours, distinct overshooting tops and gravity waves appear clearly within the large cloud shield of the convective system.

Download full resolution VIIRS image (Band I1 (0.64 microns), 375m spatial resolution) at 12:32 UTC
Download full resolution VIIRS image (Band I5 (11.45 microns) blended with I1, 375m spatial resolution) at 12:32 UTC

The precipitation from the thunderstorm system on 3 September inundated Chott el Djerid — the largest salt lake of the Sahara with a surface area of more than 7,000km2 (also known to Star Wars fans as the setting of Tatooine). The flooding can be seen on the Meteosat-10 Natural Colour RGB image taken three days later, on 6 September. Due to the extreme climate, with annual rainfall of only 100mm and temperatures reaching 50°C, water evaporates from the lake so that in summer Chott el Djerid is mostly dried up.