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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 16:43 EDT
Dust over the Mediterranean
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Dust over the Mediterranean

April 25, 2005

A thick band of Saharan dust blows north and west out of Libya (left) and Egypt (right) to almost completely obscure Crete and Greece in this true-color Aqua MODIS image from April 17, 2005. If not for the transparent layer in this image that shows political boundaries, most of the landmasses here would be hidden, either by the thick tan dust or bright white clouds.

The winds that produced this dust storm, which are common in the spring season, blew at an average of 75-89 kilometers per hour (47-55 mph) near the sea's surface, while stronger winds prevailed higher in the atmosphere. Besides being a visual nuisance, the dust cancelled or delayed flights, as well as halted sea transport.