Articles | Volume 24, issue 8
13 Sep 2006
 | 13 Sep 2006

Improvement of the detection of desert dust over the Sahel using METEOSAT IR imagery

G. Vergé-Dépré, M. Legrand, C. Moulin, A. Alias, and P. François

Abstract. Desert dust over the arid regions of Africa is detected using the Infrared Difference Dust Index (IDDI) derived from the thermal infrared (TIR) channel of METEOSAT. However, the comparison with photometric aerosol optical thickness (AOT) of this dust index reveals some discrepancies. Using an instrumented site in Sahel where aerosol properties and meteorological conditions were monitored daily during the dry season, we performed radiative transfer computations with the MODTRAN 4.1 code to develop a method to improve the IDDI usefulness. We found that discrepancies between AOT and IDDI variations mostly come from changes in the surface temperature (Ts), which is an important parameter for radiative transfer computations in the TIR. We show that this temperature varies from day to day with the surface wind speed and during the course of the season with the solar elevation, and that it is possible, for the site considered, to correct Ts from these combined effect using a simple parameterization. We also observe that the dust layer itself has an impact on Ts by reducing the amount of solar radiation at the surface, and that this phenomenon can also be accounted for by adding an AOT-dependence to the above parameterization of Ts. We show that this parameterization allows improving the agreement between the IDDI and the photometric AOT.