Dust plume event over Western Europe

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Weather

04/09/2023

by

Guillaume Tremoy

3 min

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Driven by a low-pressure system centered off the coast of Portugal, a dust plume event occurred in Western Europe between 4 and 8 September 2023. This advection resulted in a massive rise of sand from the Sahara across the Iberian Peninsula towards France and the UK.

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Terra / Modis satellite image (NASA) on September 4, 2021. Sand dust lifted from the Sahara and transported in the air mass above Western Europe appears yellowish in color.

Terra / Modis satellite image (NASA) on September 4, 2021. Sand dust lifted from the Sahara and transported in the air mass above Western Europe appears yellowish in color.

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Due to the direct attenuation of solar radiation and the effects on cloud formation and soiling of photovoltaic (PV) modules, these types of events have a significant impact on surface solar radiation and, consequently, on solar electricity production.

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Forecasts run on September 4, 2023 at 00 UTC, showing the evolution over 5 days of the dust plume and its impact on solar radiation: a) total AOD550 (CAMS model), b, c, d) GHI, DNI and DHI in clear sky conditions (Steadysun model).

Forecasts run on September 4, 2023 at 00 UTC, showing the evolution over 5 days of the dust plume and its impact on solar radiation: a) total AOD550 (CAMS model), b, c, d) GHI, DNI and DHI in clear sky conditions (Steadysun model).

Dust plume event over Western Europe

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Impacts on downwelling solar radiation for this event were up to:

📉 −50% on Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI)
📈 +100% on Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance (DHI)
📉 −20% on Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI)

By integrating real time data from the Copernicus ECMWF Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), our forecasting solutions make it possible to anticipate these phenomena and their impacts on solar radiation and production up to 5 days in advance.

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Are you developing or operating PV projects in regions exposed to aerosols (dust, sea-salt, biomass-burning, sulphate)? Then you need accurate irradiance forecasts that account for state-of-the-art aerosol modeling.

Try our forecasts and start your evaluation today!

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