Ashpole, I; Washington, R (2012). An automated dust detection using SEVIRI: A multiyear climatology of summertime dustiness in the central and western Sahara. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 117, D08202.
Here we present an automated dust detection scheme using the Infrared (IR) channels of the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI), carried on board Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites, from which dust scheme images that are now widely used in Saharan dust studies are created. This provides an objective, readily reproducible and quick way to build up climatologies of dust presence which compares well with subjectively identified dust presence in the daytime hours. At nighttime the automated detection scheme is less reliable due to the strong diurnal cycle of surface temperatures. Our SEVIRI Dust Flag (SDF) is compared to Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) from the surface and found to successfully and consistently identify moderate-heavy dust outbreaks, although success rate is lower in the early morning and late evening. SDF corresponds to Absorbing Aerosol Index (AAI) from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) that is also indicative of moderate-heavy dust outbreaks across the central and western Sahara, but there are differences in the spatial patterns of climatologies created over a number of years that are likely to be due to the different sensitivities of the detection schemes. Despite these discrepancies, SDF and AAI both place dust hot spots in southern Algeria and across its southern borders with Mali and Niger, and SDF climatologies for June-August 2004-2010 reveal that there is a substantial degree of interannual variability in dust presence in the central and western Sahara in the boreal summer.