Even as the vast cloud of dust from Chinaoriginating around April 7,
2001blows eastward from North America's Atlantic coast, a new dust
storm is now blowing from China over the Pacific. This pair of
true-color images was collected by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view
Sensor (SeaWiFS). The top image, acquired April 22, 2001, shows haze
over the mid-Atlantic United States extending well out over the Gulf
Stream. The bottom image, acquired April 24, reveals that a significant
amount of dust is still blowing out of Asia. Near the top of the
full size Asian image
you can also see smoke plumes from fires in Russia drifting
southward to blend with the windborne dust.
The early April dust cloud started as a sand storm sweeping across the
Taklimakan Desert in western China and then across the Gobi Desert in
eastern Mongolia. Heavy winds lifted the dust high into the troposphere
where, scientists believe, the plume intermingled with smoke from
industrial pollution in southeast Asia before it was pushed out to sea
toward North America. When the April 7 dust cloud arrived over
Colorado, it was estimated to be about 2,000 km (1,250 miles) long and
6.4 km (4 miles) thick.
Image provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE
March often brings an increase in dust storms to East Asia, and 2008 proved no exception. In early March 2008, the characteristic “yellow dust” from the Gobi Desert blew eastward over the Beijing region, the Yellow Sea, and North and South Korea.