Dust blew over the Persian Gulf in early March 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on March 6, 2013. It shows a dust plume extending from eastern Saudi Arabia past the United Arab Emirates and over the ocean.
Covering parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates is a desert known as Rub’ al Khali, or the Empty Quarter. It holds half as much sand as the entire Sahara Desert, fueling frequent dust storms over the Arabian Peninsula. In parts of the Empty Quarter, towering sand dunes alternate with salt flats, or sabkhas. Part of that landscape appears near the lower right corner of this image.