Dust Detection: The DUST RGB Product

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In this session the reason why dust detection by satellite is important is going to be explored interactively with the participants.

Published: 25 October 2011

The session will focus on the use of RGB products as a tool to retrieve relevant information from certain MSG channels. In particular, the DUST RGB is going to be thoroughly analysed, exploring the benefits of combining three channels in the infra-red region of the electromagnetic spectrum: IR8.7, IR10.8 and IR12.0. The principle of reverse absorption for dust with the IR10.8 and IR12.0 channels, as well as the differences in desert emissivity between IR10.8 and IR8.7, are key topics of the presentation.

Finally, other colours in DUST RGB images are explained to further exploit the product.

At the end of this lecture you should be able to:

  • identify dust clouds in DUST RGB products;
  • understand the reason why dust is magenta in the DUST RGB product;
  • identify different magenta shades for exploring dust level in the DUST RGB product;
  • get acquainted with the principle of reverse absorption with IR10.8 and IR12.0 channels;
  • realise the impact of the desert emissivity and temperature in RGB products;
  • learn what other colours in the DUST RGB product mean.

Pre-requisites: some knowledge in infra-red and visible satellite imagery and some experience in weather forecasting and/or air quality.

Category Language Difficulty Audio Duration Author
Atmosphere English Intermediate 60 min Nuno Moreira


Dust Detection presentation (PDF, 23 MB)

Dust Detection recording (ZIP, 45 MB)

Detection of Dust with MSG (EUMeTrain)

Operational use of RGB Products (EUMeTrain)



Prata, A.J. and Grant, I.F., 2000: Retrieval of microphysical and morphological properties of volcanic ash plumes from satellite data: Application of mountain Ruapehu, New Zealand. Q.J.R.Meteorol. Soc., 122, pp1–999.

I.M. Lensky and D. Rosenfeld, 2008: Clouds-Aerosols-Precipitation Satellite Analysis Tool (CAPSAT). Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 6739–6753.

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