Dust blew off the coast of Libya and over the Mediterranean Sea in late July 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on July 23, 2011.
The dust, which is thick enough to completely hide the land and water surface below, blows off the coast near Misratah (also spelled Misrata, or Misurata). The dust blows toward the northeast over a nearly cloudless sky.
Libya enjoys a Mediterranean climate near the coast, but inland lies a bone-dry, sandy desert. Only about 1 percent of Libya’s land is arable, and only a fraction of that land supports permanent crops. The sandy desert provides plentiful material for dust storms.