Dust and clouds mingled over Utah in late February 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on February 23.
The dust arises from the Great Salt Lake Desert, which has sediments that can provide ample material for dust storms. Cloud banks surround the dust, especially in the south and east. The clouds might result from the same weather pattern that brought the dust-stirring high winds.
Floridians looking for a break from hurricane season in late July 2005 were in for a change, though it wasn’t necessarily what they wanted: Saharan dust. By July 19, a massive dust storm had crossed the Atlantic towards southern Florida. This image, captured by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) instrument, shows wide swaths of the planet. On the right is the Sahara Desert, Earth’s biggest dust-producing machine. In the far upper left is North America, this dust storm’s likely target. In the center of the picture, intermixed with clouds, is the swirling dust storm, nearly the size of the United States.