In late November 2011, dust storms blew off mainland Mexico and the Baja California Peninsula. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image on November 27, 2011.
A small dust plume blows off mainland Mexico over Golfo de California (Gulf of California), almost reaching Baja California. Source points for that plume are not apparent in this image, but the clear skies over most of the Mexican state of Sonora indicate that the dust has arisen near the coast.
Source points do appear for the dust plumes arising from the Baja California Peninsula. Midway down the peninsula, where the dust arises, sandy desert comprises much of the landscape.
In October 2007, strong, dry Santa Ana winds raised a major dust plume and several minor plumes on the Baja California peninsula. The light brown dust spread west to the Pacific Ocean (image top right). Because they are warm, dry, and strong, Santa Ana winds reduce soil moisture and famously promote dust storms such as this.