June 12, 2010 - Saharan Dust Approaches South America

Saharan Dust Approaches South America

Yesterday's featured image showed Saharan dust crossing the Atlantic on June 1, 2010. This image, captured by the MODIS on the Terra satellite, is a closer look at the dust approaching South America. This dust blew off the coast of Africa days earlier.

The dust forms a large arc moving in a clockwise direction, passing roughly 300 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of Georgetown, Guyana. In the south, thin lines of clouds fringe both sides of the plume, but the clouds dissipate toward the north.

Saharan dust traversing the Atlantic is nothing new. Although dust from the Sahara often thins before reaching the Western Hemisphere, dust plumes may remain visible throughout their entire journeys. Although dust plumes can pose hazards such as Caribbean coral bleaching, dust also provides benefits. Amazon soils owe much of their existence to Saharan dust.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 06/01/2010
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC