A thick pall of sand and dust blew out from the Sahara Desert over the Atlantic Ocean yesterday (January 6, 2002), engulfing the Canary Islands in what has become one of the worst sand storms ever recorded there.
In this scene, notice how the dust appears particularly thick in the downwind wake of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. Perhaps the turbulence generated by the air currents flowing past the islands volcanic peaks is churning the dust back up into the atmosphere, rather than allowing it to settle toward the surface.
This true-color image was captured by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), flying aboard NASAs Terra satellite, on January 7, 2002.
Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC
On March 10, 2007, thick plumes of dust blew off the west coast of Africa and over the Canary Islands. In this image, the tan dust strikes a strong contrast with the navy blue ocean. The dust plumes are thickest over the Canary Islands, almost thick enough to completely obscure the satellite’s view of them.