Space Industry and Business News  





. Sandstorm Over The Mediterranean

-
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (ESA) Feb 22, 2007
A strong wind blows sand and dust across the Mediterranean Sea from the Libyan Desert, located in the northeast section of the Sahara Desert, to Sicily and the southern tip of the Italian Peninsula on 10 February 2007 in this Envisat image. Sandstorms are usually the result of atmospheric convection currents, which form when warm, lighter air rises and cold, heavier air sinks.

The cold air in this image is visible stretching from the top left side of the image down to the centre and swirling back towards the north just above Libya (represented by the blue arrow in the image below), while the warm air current is seen blowing sand from south to north (represented by the red arrow).

Dust from the Sahara Desert can be transported over thousands of kilometres by convection currents, which also cause other meteorological conditions, such as thunderstorms (marked in the image below). Because the Sahara, where sandstorms are very common, is a major source of mineral dust, large concentrations of the dust can be found in the tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean.

Saharan dust plays an important role in the Mediterranean region because it is the major source of mineral nutrients for phytoplankton - the basic food on which all other marine life depends.

Sandstorms, or dust storms, are not always beneficial however. In the Caribbean, Saharan dust is believed to infect coral reefs with the sea fan disease. It is also thought to be linked to health risks, such as increased incidences of paediatric asthma attacks in the Caribbean and epidemics of lethal meningitis in the semi-arid sub-Saharan territory known as the Sahel belt.

Outbreaks of meningitis - an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord lining known to cause seizures and deafness in those victims it does not kill outright - occur throughout the world but are most common in the Sahel belt and often start in the early part of the dry season and decrease once the first rain comes.

Because the exact correlation between the dust and spread of the disease is unknown, researchers use dust maps produced by satellite data to determine whether the hypothesis that the dry season - when wind-blown dust can fill the air - of the Sahel belt makes the 300 million inhabitants of the region much more vulnerable to meningitis.

Meningitis is caused by bacteria and although epidemiologists do not think the bacteria is spread directly by the dust, they hypothesise that the dryness caused by the dust irritates sensitive mucus membranes in the nose making local inhabitants more vulnerable to bacterial infection.

The ESA-funded Epidemio project, which ran from January 2004 to April 2006, provided dust maps of the area to help pinpoint climatic conditions favourable for the spread of such epidemics so that aid workers would know when people were at greatest risk and be able to provide early warnings.

This image was acquired by Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument while working in Full Resolution mode to provide a spatial resolution of 300 metres.

Related Links
Envisat overview
Making money out of watching earth from space today
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
3D Upstart Eyes Google Earth With Helicopter
Beijing (XNA) Feb 21, 2007
Move over Google Earth, there's a new kid in town. Shanghai scientists have developed a three-dimensional (3D) mapping system that will allow users to see the sides of buildings, which is not possible to do using Google Earth. The Shanghai Evening Post reported the development under the headline "Shanghai map challenging Google Earth", but Shu Rong, the leader of the team at Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics that developed the program, described the headline as a bit of an exaggeration.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Hong Kong Internet Access Fully Restored
  • New Damage And Bad Weather Delay Asian Internet Repairs
  • Asia Turns To Time-Tested Solution For Damaged Internet Cables
  • Chinese Web Could Remain Slow Until Late January

  • SERVIS-2 To Be Launched On Rockot
  • Russia Space Agency Hopes Sea Launch Will Resume Operation In 2007
  • United Launch Alliance First East Coast Launch A Total Success
  • ILS Proton To Launch Ciel-2 Satellite To Serve North America

  • Can UABC Take Russian Aircraft-Makers Out Of Spin
  • Superjet To Be Tested For Strength
  • Anger As Britons Face Air Tax Hike
  • Bats In Flight Reveal Unexpected Aerodynamics

  • Australia To Host US MUOS Listening Post
  • DRS Tech To Provide Satellite Bandwidth For Defense Information Network
  • Raytheon To Deliver Navy Multiband Terminal Satellite Communication System For Testing
  • Interim Polar System Reaches Full Operational Capability

  • Introducing The Coolest Spacecraft In The Universe
  • Colorado To Develop Innovative Insulation For Space
  • Raytheon Wins Contract For Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Radar
  • Lockheed Martin Upgrade To Extend Life Of Romanian Radars 15 To 20 Years

  • Alan Stern Appointed To Lead Science Mission Directorate
  • Former Space Agency Chief May Head RSC Energia
  • Northrop Grumman Names Teri Marconi VP Of Combat Avionics For Electronic Systems
  • Northrop Grumman Appoints Joseph Ensor Vice President Of Surveillance And Remote Sensing

  • Sandstorm Over The Mediterranean
  • 3D Upstart Eyes Google Earth With Helicopter
  • ESA Celebrates 15 Years Of Near-Real Time Data Delivery In Earth Observation
  • Gascom To Launch 4 Smotr Low-Orbit Remote Sensing Satellites

  • GPS Upgrade Will Require Complicated Choreography
  • China Puts New Navigation Satellite Into Orbit
  • GMV Signs Galileo Contracts Worth Over 40 Million Euros
  • Port Of Rotterdam To Use SAVI Networks Savitrak For Cargo Security And Management Service

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement