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Dust Plumes off Libya and Egypt

Dust Plumes off Libya and Egypt

Dust blew off the coasts of Libya and Egypt, and over the Mediterranean Sea in late February 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on February 18, 2011.

Multiple plumes of dust blow over the ocean. In western Libya, dust plumes blow primarily toward the east. In eastern Libya and western Egypt, dust blows mostly northward. Dust clouds the sky over Tripoli, although the air over Banghazi appears dust free. Banks of swirling clouds appear over the Mediterranean Sea, and these clouds could be related to the same weather system that stirred the dust.

Although source points for the dust plumes are not apparent in this image, the dust could easily have arisen from one of the region’s sand seas. Sand seas stretch from Tunisia across Libya and into Egypt, providing plentiful material for dust storms.

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