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Dust Storm Off Western Africa
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Dust Storm Off Western Africa

October 5, 2007

This image, acquired by the MODIS on the Aqua satellite on October 2, 2007, shows a dust storm off the coast of Western Africa. Thick dust hovers over the Atlantic Ocean west of Western Sahara (top), Mauritania (center), and Senegal (bottom); the largest plume of dust is blowing out of Mauritania. Dust storms such as this one regularly blow out of Africa's Sahara Desert, occasionally pushing dust as far as Florida and the Caribbean.

Airborne dust particles blown out over the Atlantic Ocean, as you see here, can actually enter trade winds bound for Central and North America and the Caribbean, and cross the ocean in 5-7 days.

Bright green patches of phytoplankton are visible along the coastline. Phytoplankton activity is quite likely being enhanced by the influx of iron-rich desert dust settling into the waters there over recent days.