Topic 4f - Part 1: Practical Products – Predicting impact from aerosols, dust and fires

As you know there are many different sources of pollutants in the atmosphere, these can be from cities, factories, traffic, or shipping for examples, but also natural sources such as dust storms and wildfires. Carbon monoxide from wildfires has a very long photo-chemical lifetime in the atmosphere, which means it can be tracked from the source over towns, countries, or even continents.

There are products that can be used to predict how dust and aerosols will affect solar energy. For example to help farmers re-orientate their solar panels or to help predict solar radiation levels, for management of solar energy production.

During Saharan dust outbreaks the photovoltaic output is reduced not only through a significant increase in atmospheric aerosol content by 10 to 20 percent, but also through dust deposition on the photovoltaic modules on subsequent days. This dust can spread to Europe.

Forecasting products available include EUMETSAT/WMO dust storm products. These get satellite data from the Meteosat satellites SEVIRI instrument and output a RGB composite. SEVIRI can monitor the evolution of dust storms over deserts during both day and night. The RGB combination exploits the difference in emissivity of dust and desert surfaces. In addition, during daytime, it exploits the temperature difference between the hot desert surface and the cooler dust cloud.

Featured Educators

  • Dr Mark Parrington

Don’t forget you can download the video, transcript and take any quizzes available with the links on the right.

Interactive Apps

3D Data viewer - Aerosols

Explore global aerosols data in 3D with this interactive globe. Toggle the data sets on and off using the check box in the workbench located on the left side of the screen. You can also use the tools on the right side of your screen such as “toggle splitter” to view and compare different data layers at the same time. You can also change the base map and map view by clicking on the map icon on the top right of the screen.

Satellite tracking app - Topic 4f part 1

The satellites featured in this topic are as follows:

Meteosat-8; Meteosat-9; Meteosat-10; Meteosat-11;

You can also use the drop-down menu in the app to view these satellites.


Global Wildfires

Map of global wildfires in 2017