Dust storm over Libya
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Dust storm over Libya

October 7, 2010
Just a few days after dust plumes blew off the coast of Libya, another dust storm spread over Egypt, Libya, and the Mediterranean Sea. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on October 1, 2010. The dust is thickest over central Libya, where the dust takes on a rippled pattern. Thinner but still discernible dust appears in Egypt. Over the Mediterranean Sea, dust and clouds form a massive arc that extends eastward toward Cyprus. A fairly thick plume of dust skirts the southwestern edge of that island.

A black boundary line has been overlayed on the MODIS image to indicate country boundaries. The country to the left (west) of the boundary line is Libya; to the right (east) is Egypt. The Mediterranean Sea is the blue body of water to the north of both countries. Cyprus is the cloud-free island near the upper right corner.

Source points for the dust aren't obvious in this image. Individual lines of dust in Libya may result from shifting wind patterns at higher latitudes. What appear to be source points for dust plumes in Egypt are actually features on the land surface partially obscured by a thin veil of dust. Even though source points are not obvious, the dust likely arose from the massive sand seas that sprawl over Libya and Egypt.

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