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Dust Storm Off West Africa
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Dust Storm Off West Africa

May 19, 2007

A dust plume several hundred kilometers across blew off the west coast of Africa on May 9, 2007. The MODIS on the Terra satellite took this picture the same day.

This image shows the dust plume fanning out approximately 500 kilometers west of the coast. The plume is thickest in the south, near Cape Verde, although a thin arm of dust stretches out toward the Canary Islands in the north. The thickest part of the plume is tan in color, while the thinnest portion appears ghostly gray. Over land, the dust is not thick enough to block the satellite's view of the land surface.

This dust storm is quite large, stretching from Western Sahara, through Mauritania, to northern Senegal. Believe it or not, the impacts of Saharan dust storms can reach far beyond Africa. Airborne dust particles blow out over the Atlantic Ocean, as you see here. They can actually enter trade winds bound for Central and North America and the Caribbean, and cross the ocean in 5-7 days.



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