Satellite imagery and products of the 16–17 February 2020 Saharan Air Layer dust event over the eastern Atlantic: impacts of water vapor on dust detection and morphology

Grasso, Lewis; Bikos, Daniel; Torres, Jorel; Dostalek, John F.; Wu, Ting-Chi; Forsythe, John; Cronk, Heather Q.; Seaman, Curtis J.; Miller, Steven D.; Berndt, Emily; Weinman, Harry G.; Kasper, Kennard B.

On 16–17 February 2020, dust within the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) from western Africa moved over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Satellite imagery and products from the ABI on GOES-16, VIIRS on NOAA-20, and CALIOP on CALIPSO, along with retrieved values of layer and total precipitable water (TPW) from MIRS and NUCAPS, respectively, were used to identify dust within the SAL over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Various satellite imagery and products were also used to characterize the distribution of water vapor within the SAL. There was a distinct pattern between dust detection and dust masking and values of precipitable water. Specifically, dust was detected when values of layer TPW were approximately 14 mm; in addition, dust was masked when values of layer TPW were approximately 28 mm. In other words, water vapor masked infrared dust detection if sufficient amounts of water vapor existed in a column. Results herein provide observational support to two recent numerical studies that concluded water vapor can mask infrared detection of airborne dust.

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Grasso, Lewis / Bikos, Daniel / Torres, Jorel / et al: Satellite imagery and products of the 16–17 February 2020 Saharan Air Layer dust event over the eastern Atlantic: impacts of water vapor on dust detection and morphology. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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