Saharan dust swept over the Canary Islands in early March 2009. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on March 12, 2009. In this true-color (photo-like) image, beige plumes of dust form arcs and swirls over the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of Morocco and Western Sahara. Dust appears especially thick over parts of the Canary Islands. Around La Palma Island, air currents moving the dust appear to encounter an obstacle (perhaps the island itself) that causes them to change direction. Southwest of the archipelago, a dust plume arcs in a counter-clockwise direction, missing a formation of clouds farther southwest.
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.