In late April 2012, dust mingled with clouds over eastern Russia. The dust likely originated along the border between China and Mongolia, and then followed a counter-clockwise arc into eastern Russia. Fires along the China-Mongolia border also may have released smoke into the air.
Many of the world’s most prolific dust-producing regions are sandy deserts, but the sparse grasslands of Mongolia also rank among our planet’s most dust-prone. Fine sediments from the Gobi Desert often blow eastward into the region around Beijing and off the east coast of China. The most severe Gobi Desert dust storms tend to occur in March and April.