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Saharan Dust Weakens Tropical Storm Florence
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Aug 06, 2012
Saharan Dust Weakens Tropical Storm Florence

As Tropical Storm Florence was moving across the Atlantic, a large plume of dust blowing off of the Saharan Desert in Africa was enveloping the storm. Called the Saharan Air Layer, this dust and warm, dry air that move across the Atlantic creates an atmospheric barrier preventing storm systems for developing deeper convection vertically through the atmosphere, and in a sense putting the brakes on hurricane formation. Two images taken from the Suomi NPP satellite document the Saharan Air Layer and its affect on Tropical Storm Florence. The first image, taken around 14:00z on August 5, 2012, shows the dust plume being blown off the African coast, along with the “wakes” of dust coming off the Canary Islands. The second image, taken as the satellite made its next orbit around Earth at around 15:40z, shows the dust plume surrounding and interacting with the cloud structures of Tropical Storm Florence. In the guidance discussions from August 5th, the National Hurricane Center noted the lack of deep convection and the presence of the Saharan air wrapping around the circulation, along with increasing shear, as probable causes for the dissipation from Florence’s maximum the wind speeds of 58 mph to the current 35 mph speeds.

Referral:Latest storm information from the National Hurricane Center
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Keywords:tropical storm, Florence, Suomi NPP, VIIRS, 2012.08.06 logo
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