The Detection of Dust Storms Over Land and Water With Satellite Visible and Infrared Measurements

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  • 1 Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. 20771
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Abstract

The position of a large area of dust was successfully located over the Sahara Desert and off the west coast of Africa with infrared measurements from the Temperature Humidity Infrared Radiometer (THIR) and visible information from the Image Dissector Camera System (IDCS) on Nimbus 4 between 20 and 25 April 1970. Over land, near midday, the dust areas were associated with lower equivalent blackbody temperatures (TBB's) than in the surrounding areas due to the mixing of the dust with the cooler air just above the surface. Near midnight dust areas appeared to be located where the TBB's were higher than the surrounding regions. The TBB contrast was insufficient for dust detection over the ocean, but the contrast in the visible was great enough to track the movement of the dust for several days off the African west coast. Measurements from the THIR 6.5–7.2 μm channel were useful for detecting the presence of cirrus clouds which could have caused a misinterpretation of the 10.5–12.5 μm TBB's.

Abstract

The position of a large area of dust was successfully located over the Sahara Desert and off the west coast of Africa with infrared measurements from the Temperature Humidity Infrared Radiometer (THIR) and visible information from the Image Dissector Camera System (IDCS) on Nimbus 4 between 20 and 25 April 1970. Over land, near midday, the dust areas were associated with lower equivalent blackbody temperatures (TBB's) than in the surrounding areas due to the mixing of the dust with the cooler air just above the surface. Near midnight dust areas appeared to be located where the TBB's were higher than the surrounding regions. The TBB contrast was insufficient for dust detection over the ocean, but the contrast in the visible was great enough to track the movement of the dust for several days off the African west coast. Measurements from the THIR 6.5–7.2 μm channel were useful for detecting the presence of cirrus clouds which could have caused a misinterpretation of the 10.5–12.5 μm TBB's.

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