Dust off the coast of Africa!

Earlier this morning, a large areal extent of dust advected off the coast of Africa. The new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  Р20 (NOAA-20) satellite, launched into orbit back in November 2017, captured the dust via Day/Night Band (DNB) product at 0323Z, 1 August 2018. DNB illuminates atmospheric features, senses emitted and reflected light sources (i.e. dust and clouds in this case), during the nighttime. Notice in the DNB image below, the opaque, milky white features that resemble dust along the African coast and west of Africa. Corresponding cloud cover over the ocean and over land are also seen.

Although the DNB image above is only a static image, in animation of the dust can be seen later in the day, via geostationary data (higher temporal resolution). Clicking on the video below shows dust advecting west, towards the U.S., between 13-16Z, 1 August 2018. Products seen within animation are the GeoColor and Dust products, identifying dust in milky brown and pink colors, respectively.

Satellite observations of dust and forecasting dust can assist in assessing convective initiation, hurricane development/dissipation processes, along with determining visibility levels. As dust advects westward the next few days, Weather Forecast Offices (WFO’s) will determine how dust levels will impact their County Warning Areas (CWA’s), especially along the southeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico (U.S. territory).

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