Dust Storm across the Red Sea
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Dust Storm across the Red Sea

November 19, 2007
An thick snake of tan dust slithers across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Red Sea in this dramatic true-color image acquired by the Aqua MODIS instrument on May 13, 2005. The dust is so thick that it is completely opaque for well over 700 miles across its south-moving front, from the border of Iraq, across the Arabian Desert of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and all the way past the green ribbon of the Nile to the Libyan Desert in western Egypt. While the top true-color image is impressive in its own right, the underlying Land Surface Temperature (LST) image is that much more striking - while the bare deserts are an incandescent hot red, the dust snake is a cool blue, with a warming green and yellow halo. Because the dust is suspended in a cool air system, its temperature falls to match that of the air around it, while the land underneath continues to absorb the Sun's intense heat.

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