Airborne Saharan dust over the North Atlantic Ocean

June 30th, 2009 |
Meteosat-9 visible image

Meteosat-9 visible image

A Meteosat-9 visible image at 18:00 UTC (above) showed the presence of a great deal of airborne Saharan dust over the North Atlantic Ocean on 30 June 2009. Due to a favorable forward scattering angle, this dust appeared as a large “hazy” feature between Africa and South America. Also note the well-defined “comma cloud” signature of a strong mid-latitude cyclone off the southeastern coast of South America.

The Meteosat-9 Saharan Air Layer (SAL) tracking product from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) displayed a strong signal (darker red colors) of this latest pulse of thick dust beginning to move westward off the coast of western Africa on 30 June.

Meteosat-9 Saharan Air Layer product

Meteosat-9 Saharan Air Layer product

This pulse of dust was also apparent on Meteosat-9 Red/Green/Blue (RGB) aerosol tracking product images (below), showing up as a brighter pink feature to the north of a large Mesoscale Convective System that was moving westward across western Africa during the 28-30 June period.

Meteosat-9 RGB aerosol tracking images

Meteosat-9 RGB aerosol tracking images

===== 02 JULY UPDATE =====

After the initial pulse of Saharan dust was seen to move off the west coast of Africa around the end of June, another strong pulse of blowing sand/dust (the brighter pink features) was seen to develop inland over northwestern Africa (across parts of Algeria, Niger, and Mali) during the 01-02 July period (below), with some of this dust reaching the coast on 02 July.

Meteosat-9 RGB aerosol tracking product images

Meteosat-9 RGB aerosol tracking product images

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