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Dust Storm Hits Canary Islands

Dust Storm Hits Canary Islands

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 island’s 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 NASA’s Terra satellite, on January 7, 2002.

Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC