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A critical evaluation of the ability of the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) thermal infrared red-green-blue rendering to identify dust events: theoretical analysis

Brindley, H., Knippertz, P., Ryder, C. and Ashpole, I. (2012) A critical evaluation of the ability of the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) thermal infrared red-green-blue rendering to identify dust events: theoretical analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 117. D07201. ISSN 2169-8996

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2011JD017326

Abstract/Summary

Using a combination of idealized radiative transfer simulations and a case study from the first field campaign of the Saharan Mineral Dust Experiment (SAMUM) in southern Morocco, this paper provides a systematic assessment of the limitations of the widely used Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) red-green-blue (RGB) thermal infrared dust product. Both analyses indicate that the ability of the product to identify dust, via its characteristic pink coloring, is strongly dependent on the column water vapor, the lower tropospheric lapse rate, and dust altitude. In particular, when column water vapor exceeds ∼20–25 mm, dust presence, even for visible optical depths of the order 0.8, is effectively masked. Variability in dust optical properties also has a marked impact on the imagery, primarily as a result of variability in dust composition. There is a moderate sensitivity to the satellite viewing geometry, particularly in moist conditions. The underlying surface can act to confound the signal seen through variations in spectral emissivity, which are predominantly manifested in the 8.7μm SEVIRI channel. In addition, if a temperature inversion is present, typical of early morning conditions over the Sahara and Sahel, an increased dust loading can actually reduce the pink coloring of the RGB image compared to pristine conditions. Attempts to match specific SEVIRI observations to simulations using SAMUM measurements are challenging because of high uncertainties in surface skin temperature and emissivity. Recommendations concerning the use and interpretation of the SEVIRI RGB imagery are provided on the basis of these findings.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:40744
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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