On April 30, 2005, a river of dust flowed across China to the north of the Korean Peninsula and spread out over the Sea of Japan. The thick, tan-colored plume almost completely obscured the island of Honshu from the view of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. On subsequent days, MODIS captured images of the dust spreading thousands of kilometers away over the Pacific Ocean. On May 1, the bulk of the cloud was several hundred kilometers from Honshu. By May 2, the plume was more than a thousand kilometers out over the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. Dust storms such as this can cross the Pacific and sprinkle dust across the U.S. West.
NASA images created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained from the MODIS Rapid Response team and the Goddard Earth Sciences DAAC.
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.