On Tuesday, October 30, 2001, the skies over western Europe were full of dust from Africa, as can be seen in this Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) true-color image (top). Persistent strong winds lifted the dust northward from the Sahara Desert, over the countries of Algeria, Mauritania, and Morocco. According to scientists within the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), computer models predicted the dust event would continue during the next few days, but with decreasing amounts of the dust being swept northward into Europe.
The bottom image is a map produced by the NRL's computer model showing how the desert dust was predicted to spread over Western Europe. The yellow hues show where there are heavier amounts of dust. Visual comparison between the images indicates there was very good agreement between the conditions observed by SeaWiFS and the model's prediction.
Acquired April 22, 2010, this natural-color image shows a dust plume spanning hundreds of kilometers in western Africa. A wall of dust appears to advance toward the southeast in Burkina Faso and Niger.
Floridians looking for a break from hurricane season in late July 2005 were in for a change, though it wasn’t necessarily what they wanted: Saharan dust. By July 19, a massive dust storm had crossed the Atlantic towards southern Florida. This image, captured by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) instrument, shows wide swaths of the planet. On the right is the Sahara Desert, Earth’s biggest dust-producing machine. In the far upper left is North America, this dust storm’s likely target. In the center of the picture, intermixed with clouds, is the swirling dust storm, nearly the size of the United States.