Qinghua Su2, Lin Sun 1, Yikun Yang1, Xueying Zhou1, Ruibo Li1, Shangfeng Jia1

  • 1 Geomatics College, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Shandong, Qingdao 266590, China
  • 2 School of Geography and Tourism, Qufu Normal University, Shandong, Qufu 273165, China

Received: December 31, 2016
Revised: May 12, 2017
Accepted: May 12, 2017
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2016.12.0600  

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Cite this article:
Su, Q., Sun, L., Yang, Y., Zhou, X., Li, R. and Jia, S. (2017). Dynamic Monitoring of the Strong Sandstorm Migration in Northern and Northwestern China via Satellite Data. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 17: 3244-3252. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2016.12.0600


  • A sandstorm monitoring method was proposed for northern and northwestern China.
  • Validation showed that the monitoring method can reach a high precision.
  • The sandstorm migration process was analyzed with multiple MODIS data.



Sand and dust storms (hereafter, "sandstorms") not only damage the ecological environment in northern and northwestern China but also influence the economic and social development of the affected regions and constitute a threat to human health. This study focuses on monitoring sandstorms and analyzing the sandstorm migration process in northern and northwestern China. These sandstorms are characterized by their high frequency occurrences, strong dust intensity, long durations and highly destructive effects. The dry climate conditions and low degree of vegetation coverage in this region increase the difficulty of sandstorm monitoring. This paper proposes a remote sensing monitoring method for sandstorms in northern and northwestern China based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data and the radiation characteristics of the research region and of the sandstorms. A strong sandstorm that occurred on April 23–25, 2014, is analyzed to illustrate the proposed monitoring method. Information on the sandstorm is validated and analyzed through visual interpretation and comparison with Meteorological Information Comprehensive Analysis and Process System (MICAPS) ground measurements. The spatial distribution of the sandstorm is highly consistent with the true-color MODIS data. The comparison of the results of the remote sensing monitoring of the sandstorm with the MICAPS measurements yields a high coincidence rate of 96.3%. Additionally, the migration process of the sandstorm can be clearly recognized in 6 MODIS images captured during the 3-day sandstorm. Based on the above results, we conclude that the proposed method can be used for dynamic remote sensing monitoring of sandstorms in northern and northwestern China.

Keywords: Sandstorm; Migration process; Monitoring; Northern and northwestern China; Satellite data

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