Dust plumes blew off the west coast of Africa and over the Atlantic Ocean on December 28, 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image the same day. Multiple plumes blew westward, some arising near the coast, and some arising east of the Western Sahara-Mauritania border.
Sandy desert extends over parts of Western Sahara and most of Mauritania. Hot, dust-choked sirocco winds rank among the leading natural hazards of both countries, according to the CIA World Factbook. The winds often arise during the winter and spring.