Blowing dust in New Mexico and Texas

March 23rd, 2013 |

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.672 µm Visible and 1.378 µm near-IR "Cirrus" images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.672 µm Visible and 1.378 µm near-IR “Cirrus” images [click to enlarge]

Strong winds associated with a cold frontal passage created large areas of blowing dust across parts of New Mexico and Texas on 23 March 2013. The maximum wind gusts were as high as 82 mph in New Mexico and 77 mph in Texas. A comparison of McIDAS-V images of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.672 µm visible band and 1.378 µm near-IR “cirrus” band images (above) demonstrated the utility of the near-IR imagery for more accurately displaying the areal coverage of the airborne dust that might not be entirely apparent on the standard visible channel imagery. The strength of the 1.375 µm spectral band is the detection of particles that are efficient scatterers of light (such as cirrus ice crystals, volcanic ash, haze, and dust) — so in this case the dense plumes of blowing dust showed up very well, especially in comparison to the corresponding visible image. Note that a 1.38 µm “Cirrus” band will be available with the ABI instrument on the upcoming GOES-R satellite.

For additional information and images of this event, see the NWS Lubbock TX news story and the Wide World of SPoRT blog. This webapp allows you to fade between 4 different visible/near IR channels from MODIS for this case.

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