More Saharan dust swept off the west coast of Africa and over the Pacific on March 12, 2006. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard the Aqua satellite took this picture the same day. In this image, a swath of dust several hundred kilometers across sweeps over the Atlantic, partially cloaking the Cape Verde Islands near the top center of the image.
It is not uncommon for Saharan dust storms to travel across the Atlantic to North or South America, or the Caribbean. To the Caribbean, Saharan dust is a mixed blessing. Excessive amounts of dust have decimated some species of Caribbean corals, but dust has also paved the way for other life forms to flourish. Without regular doses of dust, some islands in the Caribbean would be barren rock.
Holmes, H. (2001) The Secret Life of Dust. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.