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Sahara Dust Storm

Sahara Dust Storm
Sahara Dust Storm

Dust blew through western Africa in late April 2010, creating a plume spanning hundreds of kilometers. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite observed the dust storm on April 22, 2010. These natural-color images provide a wide-area (top) and close-up (bottom) view of the dust storm. The area outlined in white in the top image is the area shown in the bottom image.

The region affected by this dust storm includes not just the Sahara Desert but also the Sahel, a semi-arid grassland region bordering the massive desert on the south. The dust plume hovers primarily over Burkina Faso and Mali. Straddling the border between Burkina Faso and Niger, an especially thick layer of dust appears to push southeastward. The billowy appearance of the dust and the relatively clear skies to the southeast suggest that this is an advancing wall of dust.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.