Saharan dust lingered over the Atlantic Ocean in late January 2008. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image on January 28. This picture shows a large, amorphous plume of dust over the ocean and over Cape Verde.
Because skies are clear east of the dust plume, this image also shows fresh sources of dust hundreds of kilometers inland from the coast. In Mauritania, several distinct plumes of dust blow toward the northwest. Although that area may have contributed to the larger dust plume in the west, it did not supply all of the Saharan dust that hovered over the Atlantic in January 2008; that dust arose from sand seas spread over a much larger area.
The faint circular feature east of the fresh dust plumes is known as the Richat Structure.
NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.