Large dust cloud over the Canary Islands

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Around the 12 January, a high layer of dust moved from north-western Africa covering the area around the Canary Islands, impacting visibility.

Date & Time
12 January 2015 11:30 UTC
Meteosat-10, Terra
High Resolution Visible (HRV), Natural Colour RGB, Dust RGB, Channel difference 10.8µm–12.0µm

In the imagery on Figure 1, due to the high thermal contrast between the dust at high level and the surface, the pink signal is dramatic in the infrared colour composite.


The tenuous reflection in the solar image suggests a thin layer of dust, seen as hazy air.

However, it affects the retrieval of atmospheric motion vectors — sparse in that area due to the homogeneous layer.

Image comparison
Dust RGB, 12 January 11:30 UTC Natural Colour RGB, 12 January 11:30 UTC
Figure 1: Comparison of the Dust and Natural Colour RGBs. Dust is pink on the Dust RGB and looks more like a beige cloud on the Natural Colour RGB.
Figure 2


Figure 2, Meteosat-10, 12 January, 11:30 UTC. Brightness temperature difference for channels at 10.8µm and 12µm, coloured for negative values in the interval (-2.6 K, 0 K)
Full Resolution

Figure 2 shows the difference between the channels at 10.8 and 12.0 µm. It corresponds roughly to the pink coloration usually interpreted as dust, and provides additional information on the areas with more dust.


In Figures 3 and 4 the orographic effect of the island mountains is visible in the dust cover, especially south west of the Canaries. Also, a long cumulus line can be seen, under the veil downstream of La Gomera (third island from left), as a vortex trail.

Figure 3: Met-10, 12 January 11:30 UTC
HRV, coloured with other solar channels
Full Resolution
Figure 4: Terra, 12 January 11:30 UTC
Full Resolution
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