Light tan plumes of dust flow across the Bodele Depression in north central Africa as the newest of an ongoing series of dust storms is born. There have been a number of dust storms, intermittent and intense, originating in this region this year that have sent thick plumes of dust westward across the Atlantic to the shores of North and South America as well as northward to Europe.
This image was acquired on afternoon of April 6, 2004, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite. The high-resolution image above is at 500 meters per pixel. Copies of this scene are also available at additional resolutions. The MODIS sensor aboard Terra acquired the same scene on the morning overpass of that same day (on April 6).
Dust storms in the Bodele depression are common. As recently as the 1960s, the area formed part of Lake Chad on the southern edges of the vast Sahara Desert. Lack of rain and increased demand for irrigation water shrank the shorelines of the lake, leaving the Bodele depression dry. The low-lying area is now a major source of windblown dust in Europe, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere.
Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC