the weather is like, right now, in an area of North Africa where the
real Rat Patrol might have been (Jalo, Libya).
really is the current weather and time in Jalo, Libya
on the above image takes you to another website. Don't get
lost in the desert. Use your back button to get back here)
Chamsin, Kamseen, Khamsin)
of Fire Raid (pilot)
Rat Patrol with new member, Moffitt, begin deep into the desert
behind German lines to find a buried petrol and ammunitions
dump. They are being chased by the Germans who are just as keen
to find that dump
as the Rat Patrol is to destroy it. When the
arrives at the coordinates, desert expert Moffitt is charged with
finding the exact spot to dig to find the dump so they can destroy
it. He looks at the surface sand pattern and comments that it
"runs against the prevailing Khamseen."
are times during the year when the prevailing winds of Libya, the
area over which the Rat Patrol travelled, shift significantly from
their usual direction. Then comes a time when life for the
desert inhabitants becomes considerably more difficult. The
winds drive up from the south, drawing super-heated, very dry air
across the massive deserts - air so dry that all in its path are in
danger of serious dehydration. These southern winds can force
local temperatures up by as much as 50 degrees C (122 F) in the
span of just a few hours and transport masses of sand and dust in the
form of immense dust and sand storms.
is the direction of travel for the low pressure cells across the
Mediterranean Sea that give rise to these annual southerly
winds. One name for this weather phenomenon is the Sirocco,
which is the Arab word for easterly'.
late March and mid May, there are approximately fifty days when this
wind may blow. Sometimes it is just a terribly hot dry dusty wind,
but other times it is much more ferocious and carries great
quantities of sand and dust. The Egyptian name for this wind is
'Khamseen' and it is derived from the Arabic word for fifty ("rih
al khamsin" or 'wind of fifty days'). There are
a number of alternate spellings of the name - Chamsia, Chamsin,
Kamseen, Khamsin - but they all refer to the same hot, very dry,
dusty wind blowing out of the Sahara that can bring violent
sandstorms with them.
are the winds that Moffitt speaks of in The
Chase of Fire Raid (pilot). For more about what he said,
see here on the Quotes page.
Ghibli, or El-ghibli, is a dry dessicating wind that blows
from the desert and carries towers of dust. It is evil and
feared by the desert dwellers of North Africa. The
camel-masters of southwestern Libya say that during the ghibli a
camel can become pregnant without the intervention of the male.
It may be that Ghibli and Khamseen are the same phenomenon and are
regional names for the fierce winds that blow from the south
bringing sandstorms. Reference was found where not just the
winds, but that the sandstorms themselves were called Ghiblis.
Chase of Fire Raid)
Ghibli can have profound effect on the landscape by moving vast
quantities of sand from one place to another. As demonstrated
most clearly through photos in The Chase
of Fire Raid, the desert, like a lady,
can change her face daily. The Ghibli is indeed a major desert
term Ghibli is applied in The Rat Patrol
to something other than wind or sandstorm. See
- a Natural History by Marq de
Villiers and Sheila Hirtle, McClelland and Stewart, 2003.
odds and ends about the Ghibli (Chibli)
1936 an Italian engineer (Cesare Pallavicino) designed a prototype
of a two-engined aircraft for use at the Italian colonies in Africa
(Libya was one). It was called Ca 309 Chibli (Desert Wind).
sandstorms can happen any time during the year in North Africa, the
most fierce occur in the spring and the autumn.
sandstorm will usually last from one to four days, but one reference
mentioned a claim by some natives that five days in a sandstorm was a
reasonable excuse for murder so it would appear that a sandstorm can
occasionally last longer.
winds of a sandstorm can reach 144 kph (90 mph) and overturn light
vehicles and bring a halt to offensives. Despite the power of
the winds, grains of sand (as opposed to dust-sized particles)
whipped up by winds rarely reach more than two meters (2 yards) above
the ground. Dust, however, may be carried to great heights of
5,000 metres (16,000 feet) and be seen 100 kilometres (62 miles) out
to sea and be carried to other continents.
of sand from the Sahara
sandstorms of North Africa are described as being huge clouds of a
reddish hue. Depending on the colour settings of your monitor,
this scan of real Saharan desert sand will have a pinkish hue.
sand in the sample is very well sorted and fine grained with a
account about war time desert conditions http://web.archive.org/web/20021011024849/http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~sarker/Sound/Sound_AppendixB.html
the above url is only currently accessible through the facilities of
archive.org. The page may be slow to load.]
that be hot tea or iced tea?
world's hottest offical temperature was recorded in Azizia Libya in
September of 1922.
degrees C (136 F) and that was in the shade!
temperature range in the desert can be considerable. With the
lack of moisture in the air, there can be a rapid loss of heat come
nightfall, giving a daily range of 30 degrees C (86 F) . It is
not uncommon for there to be night time freezing temperatures between
December and February.
wonder Moffitt was 'bloody cold' and wanted a cup of hot tea in Chase
of Fire Raid.
it was really cold they might have consumed something other than
tea. See what here.
Man's Bluff Raid)
it hot with a spot of milk
Chase of Fire Raid)
Life for a Life Raid
that isn't really a band of Arab horsemen riding out of an inland
desert sea to attack the Rat Patrol although it looks like it.
It's a mirage.
of the sort the Rat Patrol saw here, arise because of the way light
travelling through air can be 'bent'. Suncompass does not
intend to get into detailed physics here (not that she'd be totally
comfortable with doing so anyway) but in simplest terms here is how
it is that you (or the Rat Patrol) might see a mirage in the desert
travels in a straight line through a medium (air, water, beer,
glass, whatever) of consistent density, but when the light travels
from one medium to another with a different density, it bends
(refracts). (if you don't believe Suncompass, just put
a straw into a glass of water or beer or Ghibli and see that it looks bent.)
The greater the change in density, the greater the amount of
'bending' of the light.
does not everywhere have the same density. Heated air is less
dense than cooler air. In the desert (or over a hot bit of
pavement) air can become very hot just above the heated surface.
This creates a thin layer of less dense air - considerably less
dense than the air higher up. The light travelling from the sky
bends upward through the ultra heated air layer next to the ground so
our eye thinks there is a patch of water on the ground reflecting the
sky above it.
are many good sites to learn about mirages but here's one where you
can find a good explanation of the Inferior Mirage: