Sahara dust outbreak across the Western Mediterranean

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Sahara dust outbreak across the Western Mediterranean.

Date & Time
28 July 2005 00:00 UTC

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


In Depth

by Jochen Kerkmann and HansPeter Roesli (EUMETSAT)

Jump to images

Sahara dust outbreaks towards the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean are very common throughout the year, with a peak frequency in spring (March, April, May). The Meteosat-8 images below show two RGB composites that help to detect dust outbreaks: the left image shows the so-called dust RGB, which is designed to monitor the evolution of dust storms mainly over deserts during both day and night (dust appears pink or magenta).

This RGB composite does allow however the further (24 hour) tracking of dust clouds as they spread over the sea (see animation). In practice, during the daytime the use of visible channels (in particular the HRV channel) is preferable for the tracking of dust over the sea. This can be seen in the right image, which gives a detailed view of the dust cloud as it reaches Sardinia and Sicily.

In this RGB composite, the dust is best visible in the morning hours due to the strong forward scattering of the solar radiation on the dust particles, which are of roughly the same size as the wavelength of the incident solar radiation. During local noon, when sun and satellite are looking with nearly the same angle at the dust cloud, the dust becomes almost invisible.


Meteosat-8 Images

Met-8, 28 July 2005, 06:00 UTC
RGB Composite
IR12.0–IR10.8, IR10.8–IR8.7, IR10.8
Full Resolution (241 KB)
Animation (MP4, 9 MB)
27 July 16:00 UTC–28 July 06:00 UTC
Source: Naval European Meteorology and
Oceanography Center, Rota, Spain
Met-8, 28 July 2005, 07:00 UTC
RGB Composite
HRV, HRV, IR10.8
Full Resolution (241 KB)
Animation (06:00–16:00 UTC, MP4, 7 MB)
Animation Zoom (06:00–16:00 UTC, MP4, 6 MB)

See also:

Dense stream of dust between Greece and Libya (17 April 2005)
Sahara dust outbreak across the Atlantic (3-10 March 2004)
Dust storm over the Mediterranean Sea (21 February 2004)
RGB composite (time average) (27 July 14:00 UTC–28 July 24:00 UTC, PNG, 454 KB)

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