Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dust Sources

Based on visible satellite imagery, the West Desert was the big producer today.  As is often the case, just a few wispy clouds can complicate dust detection and that was the case today.  Nevertheless, I've highlighted below a few areas where on can see evidence of plume initiation in the late-day satellite imagery.

There's also a very nice image MODIS that shows the plumes over the West Desert this afternoon.  Click to enlarge and you can also see a plume extending from the Skull Valley over the Great Salt Lake.  If you look really carefully, there seems to be some dust over the Tooele Valley that may be related to strong winds over and downstream of South Mountain.

2020 UTC 31 Mar 2012 Aqua/MODIS image
The origin of the dust over the Salt Lake Valley is a bit more of a mystery.  There's not an easily identifiable plume that we can trace upstream.  There may be a number of smaller point sources, as suggested in the top satellite image above.  There are techniques to better identify dust using all the channels received by the satellite that we can perhaps try in the coming days, but it could be that the dust over the Salt Lake Valley is not concentrated enough to be clearly identified.

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