Fog over the United Arab Emirates

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Overnight 21/22 February fog and low cloud formed over the United Arab Emirates, causing Dubai Airport to be closed.

Date & Time
21 February 2014 17:00 UTC–22 February 2014 10:00 UTC
Night Cloud Microphysics RGB

Poor horizontal visibility caused the re-routing of 15 flights that had been on their way to Dubai International Airport.

Other less extended fog patches can also be observed over Qatar and the Strait of Hormuz.

The clouds/fog only dissolved in the afternoon of 22 February.


Download full resolution image
Download animation (MPG, 2 MB)

More information and detailed analysis of the feature can be found in the In Depth section.


In Depth

by HansPeter Roesli (Switzerland)

Essentially there are three standard RGB products that allow for monitoring the evolution of fog and low cloud.

Figure 1: Night Cloud Microphysics RGB

At night the Night Cloud Microphysics RGB shows the fog and low cloud as whitish patches that contrast very well with the land and water surfaces in the background.

However, as soon as the first rays from the Sun reach the cloud tops the colour changes to pinkish-blueish shades that still stand out over water. This is due to the superposition over reflected sunlight over the IR signal in the IR3.9 channel used in this RGB.

Over land the contrast weakens considerably, but the feature can still be tracked in the animated image sequences.

Download full resolution image 22 February 02:00 UTC
Download animation (MPG, 2 MB)


Figure 2: Natural Colour RGB

The Natural Colour RGB, being based on solar reflection only, is limited to daytime, where it shows excellent contrast right from sunrise onward.

Also, smaller patches over Qatar and the Strait of Hormuz are rendered very well.

Download full resolution image 22 February 03:30 UTC
Download animation (MPG, 657 KB)


Figure 3: Dust RGB

The Dust RGB, where the IR3.9 channel used in the Night Microphysics RGB is replaced by IR8.7, may be considered as a compromise of the two RGBs discussed above.

Fog and low cloud appear in greyish-pinkish shades that at night and in the day contrast well with the water-land background. Smaller and/or thinner patches tend to get lost though, e.g. those over Qatar and the Strait of Hormuz.

Again the animation can be of considerable help.

Download full resolution image 22 February 02:00 UTC
Download animation (MPG, 1 MB)

See also

News story on the fog and flights

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