MODIS Products Enhance Dust/Low Cloud Detection

The MODIS dust and nighttime microphysics products proved very useful during a potent cold frontal passage across eastern NM during the early morning of April 23, 2013.  Widespread extreme to exceptional drought conditions have lead to many days this month reporting blowing dust.  While most blowing dust cases have occurred during the day, this case is more interesting since the dust occurred at night while low clouds were developing behind the front.   The four panel image below illustrates how all the MODIS imagery used together provides better insight into areas of dust versus low clouds.  The top left image is the MODIS dust product, the upper right image is the MODIS nighttime microphysics, the lower left is the MODIS 11-3.9micron, and the lower right is the MODIS-GOES hybrid 11micron.   The front is clearly visible in the dust product and supported well by the surface observations.  Dust at night appears in dark magenta, low clouds light blue in the microphysics product, and yellow in the 11-3.9micron.  Visibilities were reported down to 3 to 5 miles around Clovis and Portales and 1.5 miles at Roswell as the front barreled through.  Click image to enlarge.

MODIS 4panel

One thought on “MODIS Products Enhance Dust/Low Cloud Detection

  1. Thanks for the post ABQ! It will be interesting to see how the RGB and perhaps the nighttime VIIRS visible imagery do during the upcoming warm months. Because of the very dry conditions there and the bleak outlook for continued drought conditions…the Dust RGB and the Nighttime VIIRS DNB (for spotting smoke plumes at night) may be particularly useful. Thanks again for the post!

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