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Downbursts and dust storms

Review of last lecture

1. 2 types of mesoscale convective systems

2. Structure of MCCs
3. Structure of squall lines: four components 4. Flash floods and mudslides 1. Derechos

Downbursts: Introduction
Downbursts are gusts of wind that can reach speeds in excess of 270km/hr (165mph), and are potentially deadly.

Three common types: Derechos Haboobs Microbursts

Different downbursts

620 miles or 1000 km

62 miles or 100 km

6.2 miles or 10 km

0.62 mile or 1 km

Downbursts with diameteres of less than 4km (2.5mi) called microbursts is a very localized column of sinking air, producing damaging divergent and straight-line winds at the surface that are similar to, but distinguishable from, tornadoes, which generally have convergent damage. can produce dangerous situations at airports, as they impede air travel.

Video: Microburst GHfC4

Development of microburst
Three stages: Contact, Outburst, Cushion

Structure of a microburst

Two types of microburst

Microburst and air travel

Fatal crashes or aircraft incidents due to microbursts

A BOAC Canadair C-4 (G-ALHE), Kano Airport - 24 June 1956. A Malv Ilyushin Il-18 (HA-MOC), Copenhagen Airport 28 August 1971. Eastern Air Lines Flight 66 Boeing 727-225(N8845E), John F. Kennedy International Airport 24 June 1975 Pan Am Flight 759 Boeing 727-235 (N4737), New Orleans International Airport 9 July 1982 Delta Air Lines Flight 191 Lockheed L-1011 TriStar (N726DA), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport 2 August 1985 Martinair Flight 495 McDonnell Douglas DC-10 (PH-MBN), Faro Airport 21 December 1992 USAir Flight 1016 Douglas DC-9 (N954VJ), Charlotte/Douglas International Airport 2 July 1994 Goodyear Blimp GZ-20A (N1A, "Stars and Stripes"), Coral Springs, Florida 16 June 2005 Bhoja Air Flight 213 Boeing 737-200 (AP-BKC), Islamabad International Airport, Islamabad, Pakistan- April 20 2012

Very strong horizontal winds over desert regions create sandstorms called haboobs (from the Arabic word meaning wind).
Occur regularly in arid regions throughout the world.

Video: Haboobs 4knF0

Global distribution of aerosols

Global impact of dust storms

Factors contributing to dust storms

Desertification Drying of global soil moisture


Caused mainly be human activities and climate change Is one of the most significant global environmental problems About a billion people are under threat

Global desertification vulnerability

Drying of global soil moisture

The Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) was developed by Wayne Palmer in the 1960s and uses temperature and rainfall information in a model to determine dryness of soil moisture. is most effective in determining long term drought (a matter of several months) and is not as good with short-term forecasts (a matter of weeks). It uses a 0 as normal, and drought is shown in terms of minus numbers.

PSDI for US in December 2011

Change of PSDI in the last 100 years


A movies depiction of dust storm: mDBLWg at 13359-1:35:00

1. 3 types of downbursts. 2. 3 stages of microburst development. 2 types of microbursts. 1. Haboobs. 2. Global desertification. 3. What is PDSI? Which two variables is PDSI dependent on? How has the PDSI been changing in the last century?