Strong, hot winds known as “berg winds” (mountain winds) are lofting plumes of dust directly out into the Atlantic Ocean in this panoramic image taken from the International Space Station. The equivalent of Santa Ana winds in California, berg winds blow on a few occasions in fall and winter off all coasts of southern Africa. Other images from ISS have captured these dust plumes.
Namibia’s great Sand Sea appears here as a reddish zone along part of the coast (image center). The Sand Sea is more than 350 kilometers (220 miles) long, giving a sense of the length of the visible dust plumes. A light-toned sediment plume enters the sea at the mouth of the Orange River (image lower left), southern Africa’s largest river.
Astronaut photograph ISS040-E-16513 was acquired on June 21, 2014, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 42 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 40 crew The image in this article has been enhanced to improve contrast. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Jacobs at NASA-JSC.
In October 2007, strong, dry Santa Ana winds raised a major dust plume and several minor plumes on the Baja California peninsula. The light brown dust spread west to the Pacific Ocean (image top right). Because they are warm, dry, and strong, Santa Ana winds reduce soil moisture and famously promote dust storms such as this.