• radiative processes;
  • radiation;
  • transmission and scattering;
  • aerosols and particles

[1] Saharan dust storms have often been observed from space, but the full impact on the Earth's radiation balance has been difficult to assess, due to limited observations from the surface. We present the first simultaneous observations from space and from a comprehensive new mobile facility in Niamey, Niger, of a major dust storm in March 2006. The results indicate major perturbations to the radiation balance both at the top of the atmosphere and at the surface. Combining the satellite and surface data, we also estimate the impact on the radiation balance of the atmosphere itself. Using independent data from the mobile facility, we derive the optical properties of the dust and input these and other information into two radiation models to simulate the radiative fluxes. We show that the radiation models underestimate the observed absorption of solar radiation in the dusty atmosphere.