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Asian dust stormScience Meets Art: Discover Stunning Satellite Images of a Massive Asian Dust Storm

A massive dust storm over Mongolia and China is revealed in magenta tones in this screenshot from a time-lapse animation of Himawari-9 satellite images acquired on March 21, 2023. Please see below for the time-lapse itself. (Credit: CIMSS Satellite Blog)

If it weren’t for the labels and national borders, the image above could easily be mistaken for an abstract expressionist painting. But it’s actually a satellite image that reveals a sweeping dust storm over Asia.

The storm broke out like closely spaced areas of high and low atmospheric pressure generated strong winds that raised a huge amount of dust over Mongolia. The comma-shaped low pressure system then carried the dust all the way to northeastern China. In the image above and the time-lapse animation below, the dust appears in shades of bright magenta and pink.

As the dust storm moved into eastern China on March 22, visibility dropped sharply in Beijing and air quality sensors there revealed high levels of dust particles. In total, the dust affected more than 560 million people.

The luminescent colors and swirling patterns in the satellite views demonstrate how imaging at the intersection of science and art can provide beautiful and revealing perspectives on atmospheric events. An example of what is known as RGB powder images, the false-color views are created using different wavelengths of infrared light to distinguish dust in the air from clouds during both day and night.

“I think of RGB as a place where science meets art,” says Stephen Miller, a senior research fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Atmospheric Research. The colors are visually compelling while maximizing the information content of a complex scene in a way that meteorologists can quickly interpret. “For RGB to be most useful, it must clearly communicate multiple functions unambiguously within a single display,” explains Miller.

Here is the dust storm visualized using visible wavelengths of light:

Real-color animation of Himawari-9 satellite imagery reveals massive amounts of dust entrained in a comma-shaped low pressure system over northern China in late March 2023 (Credit: RAMMB-CIRA Satellite Library)

The evolution of the comma-shaped low pressure system and the dust it sweeps over a vast region is clearly evident. Even so, RGB images of dust convey more information about what’s going on in the atmosphere.

Asian Dust Storm Images   Source link

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