Science & Technology

Massive Saharan Dust Aerosol Blanket Analyzed by NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP Satellite

This June 24, 2020 picture is from the Suomi NPP OMPS aerosol index. The mud plume moved over the Yucatan Peninsula and up by means of the Gulf of Mexico. The most important and thickest a part of the plume is seen over the jap and central Atlantic. Credit score: NASA/NOAA, Colin Seftor

Dust storms from Africa’s Saharan Desert touring throughout the Atlantic Ocean are nothing new, however the present mud storm has been fairly expansive and NASA satellites have offered a have a look at the large June plume. NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite tv for pc confirmed the blanket of mud had moved over the Gulf of Mexico and prolonged into Central America and over a part of the jap Pacific Ocean.

NASA makes use of satellites and different sources to trace aerosol particles made from desert mud, smoke, and volcanic ash. The Seen Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard Suomi NPP offered a visual picture whereas the Ozone Mapping and Profiling Suite (OMPS) Nadir-Mapper (NM) instrument aboard the Suomi-NPP satellite tv for pc offered absorbing aerosol index values. The OMPS index signifies the presence of sunshine absorbing aerosol particles (ultraviolet (UV)-absorbing particles within the air) akin to desert mud. The absorbing aerosol index is expounded to each the thickness and top of the aerosol layer.

The Absorbing Aerosol Index is beneficial for figuring out and monitoring the long-range transport of volcanic ash from volcanic eruptions, smoke from wildfires or biomass burning occasions and mud from desert mud storms. These aerosol particals may even be tracked over clouds and areas coated by snow and ice.

This picture is a composite of the OMPS aerosol index and the VIIRS seen picture each from NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite tv for pc on June 24. The picture exhibits the mud plume moved over the Yucatan Peninsula and up by means of the Gulf of Mexico. Credit score: NASA/NOAA, Colin Seftor

Colin Seftor, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard House Flight Heart in Greenbelt, Md., created imagery from the Suomi NPP OMPS absorbing aerosol index and visual imagery from the VIIRS instrument He stated that on June 23 and 24 the mud plume had moved fully over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, up by means of the Gulf of Mexico and into southern Texas. “At that time, the state of affairs turns into extra sophisticated as a result of the absorbing aerosol index sign seen additional north into Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and so on., might be a mixture of mud and smoke from the quite a few fires burning within the southwest U.S. You can even see that the mud traveled over Central America and out into the Jap Pacific Ocean.”

On June 25, an animation that mixed OMPS aerosol index and VIIRS seen imagery from NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite tv for pc was created at NASA Goddard exhibiting the motion the Saharan mud cloud from June 15 to 25, 2020,. The animation confirmed the mud plume streamed from Africa’s west coast over the Atlantic into the Caribbean Sea and up by means of the Gulf of Mexico over a number of the Gulf states.

Aerosol particles soak up and scatter incoming daylight, which reduces visibility and will increase the optical depth. Aerosol particles impact human well being, climate and the local weather. Aerosol particles are produced from many occasions together with human actions akin to air pollution from factories and pure processes akin to smoke from fires, mud from mud storms, sea salt from breaking waves, and volcanic ash from volcanoes. Aerosol particles compromise human well being when inhaled by individuals with bronchial asthma or different respiratory sicknesses. Aerosol particles additionally have an effect on climate and local weather by cooling or warming the earth in addition to enhancing or stopping cloud formation.

This “true-color” composite picture of the Saharan Dust plume was captured by the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite tv for pc on June 24, 2020. The intense streaks seen at common intervals are attributable to solar glint off of the ocean floor. Credit score: NASA/NOAA, Colin Seftor

On June 18, NASA’s Earth Observatory famous the thickest components of the plume appeared to stretch about 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) throughout the Atlantic Ocean. By June 24, the plume prolonged over 5,000 miles.

Dust from Africa can have an effect on air high quality as distant as North and South America whether it is blended right down to floor stage. However mud may play an vital ecological position, akin to, fertilizing soils within the Amazon and constructing seashores within the Caribbean. The dry, heat, and windy circumstances related to Saharan Air Layer outbreaks from Africa may suppress the formation and intensification of tropical cyclones.

“Whereas Saharan mud transport throughout the ocean to the Americas just isn’t unusual, the dimensions and power of this specific occasion is sort of uncommon,” Seftor stated. “Additionally, in case you look off the coast of Africa you possibly can see yet one more massive cloud coming off the continent, persevering with to feed the lengthy chain of mud touring throughout the Atlantic.”

Animated GIFs of the mud storm’s exercise:

This animation exhibits the aerosols within the Saharan mud plume from June 15 to 25, 2020. It was created from the Suomi NPP OMPS aerosol index. The mud plume moved from Africa’s west coast over the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbean Sea and up by means of the Gulf of Mexico. The most important and thickest a part of the plume is seen over the jap and central Atlantic. Credit score: NASA/NOAA, Colin Seftor

This “true-color” composite animation of seen satellite tv for pc imagery exhibits the motion of the Saharan Dust plume from June 15 to 25, 2020. It was captured by the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite tv for pc. The intense streaks seen at common intervals are attributable to solar glint off the ocean floor. Credit score: NASA/NOAA, Colin Seftor

This animation of the development Saharan mud cloud throughout the Atlantic Ocean from June 15 to 25, 2020 combines OMPS aerosol index and VIIRS seen imagery from NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite tv for pc. The mud plume moved from Africa’s west coast over the Atlantic into the Caribbean Sea and up by means of the Gulf of Mexico. The most important and thickest a part of the plume is seen over the jap and central Atlantic Ocean. Credit score: NASA/NOAA, Colin Seftor

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