Red Sea Dust Storm
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Red Sea Dust Storm

May 14, 2014
Strong wind, a frequent visitor to Saudi Arabia in the springtime, whipped up dust which spread over the Red Sea in early May, 2014. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured the storm in action in this true-color image acquired at 7:40 UTC (10:40 a.m. local time) on May 5.

A veil of dust, apparently originating east of this image, curls over the Red Sea in the southern section of this image, obscuring the blue waters from view. Several heavy plumes of dust billow from Saudi Arabia’s sandy coast and blow westward just north of this. The air over Sudan, on the west of the Red Sea, remains relatively clear.

Further north, several smaller lines of sand rise from the Tabuk Region and pour toward Egypt. A few wispy white clouds hang over the far northern section of the Red Sea, possibly hinting at a weather system which is driving the dust, which arises well inland, across Saudi Arabia. Dust storms in this southern region often arise from Rub’ al Khali, or the Empty Quarter. It is the world’s largest sand sea, and covers parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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