Saharan dust skirted the Canary Islands in early February 2010. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on February 6, 2010. A thin veil of dust blows westward past some of the islands, gradually turning toward the southwest south of El Hierro. Source points for the plume are not apparent in this image, and the dust may have originated far inland.
The Canary Islands and the neighboring archipelago to the south, Cape Verde, often receive regular doses of dust, but Saharan sands also travel to the Western Hemisphere, affecting islands in the Caribbean and supplying soil to the Amazon Rainforest.
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.