Dust Plume off Western Africa

Dust Plume off Western Africa

A massive dust plume blew off the western coast of Africa and over the Atlantic Ocean on October 8, 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image the same day, showing dust extending from the Western Sahara-Mauritania border westward past Cape Verde. It was the second consecutive day of dust activity in this region.

Sand seas sprawl across Mauritania and neighboring countries, and those vast reservoirs of sand provide plentiful material for dust storms. The Saharan Air Layer—an arid, dust-laden air mass that forms over the Sahara between late spring and early fall—frequently transports dust westward across the Atlantic Ocean.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.

References & Resources

  • Hurricane Research Division. (2012, March 17) Saharan Air Layer. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed October 8, 2012.