On March 4, 2012, the thick dust that had hovered over Saudi Arabia a day earlier traveled southward off the edge of the Arabian Peninsula. This natural-color image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, shows a cloud of dust over Yemen, and translucent swirls of dust over the Arabian Sea.
Lines of small clouds cling to the margins of the dust plumes south of Oman. These clouds may result from the same weather front that kicked up high winds and stirred the dust storm. This region is one of the world’s most prolific dust-producing areas, thanks in part to the presence of the sand sea known as Rub’ al Khali. Rub’ al Khali holds about half as much sand as the Sahara Desert.