An enormous cloud of dust blanketed the Red Sea on July 26, 2005, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image. It is hard to tell just where the dust is coming from here; the Red Sea is sandwiched between several deserts that are capable of producing spectacular dust storms. On the west side of the sea, the Nubian Desert of Sudan (center left) appears slightly blurred through a light haze of dust, hinting that the dust may have come from the west as such storms often do.
On the top of the image, however, the dust appears to be blowing out of the east. Desert flanks the Red Sea on the east in the form of the Tihamat ash Sham, the pale strip of land barely visible along the eastern shore of the sea. The dust is thicker here, pooling in a distinct line at the foot of the Jabal al Hijaz (Hijaz Mountains). Beyond the mountains are the great sand deserts of Saudi Arabia.
To the north of the dust storm, the air over the Red Sea is clear. Coral reefs around the islands create flashes of brilliant turquoise in the clear black of the sea.
Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
- Terra - MODIS