Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 16:53 EDT
Saharan Dust over the Atlantic
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Saharan Dust over the Atlantic

September 24, 2009
A tan cloud of Saharan dust hangs over the North Atlantic Ocean in this photo-like satellite image from September 21, 2009. The image shows signs that the dust extends both west and north away from the coast and up into the atmosphere. The dust takes the shape of the wind, forming waves near the surface immediately offshore.

This surface-level dust is veiled in a thin cloud of brown where dust has infiltrated higher into the atmosphere. This vertical distribution of dust creates the “X” in the plume near the center of the image: the top layer of dust is moving a different direction than the lower layer of dust. The MODIS on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image on the afternoon of September 21, 2009.