The plume of dust that swept over the South Pacific Ocean from Australia on October 13, 2009, was delicate, almost ghostly, compared to the large, dense plume of dust that darkened much of the east Australian coast on September 23. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of the dust storm at 10:40 a.m., local time, on October 13 (23:40 UTC on October 12). The airborne orange brown dust has a feathery texture with tiny wisps radiating from the central plume as the dust rises and falls on waves of turbulence in the atmosphere. The dust came from Australia’s dry interior.
The large image provided above is at MODIS’ maximum resolution of 250 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides the image in additional resolutions.
NASA Earth Observatory images courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.