A dense layer of dust blanketed the skies east of Japan on March 21, 2010, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image. The dust came from a large spring dust storm that blew across China the previous day. Air flowing over the Japanese Islands ripples like water flowing over a stone. The dust takes the shape of the turbulent air, revealing an intricate pattern of waves.
Spring dust storms are common in China. This storm occurred when a large low pressure system picked up dust from the vast Gobi Desert and carried the dust east across China and the Pacific on strong winds.