July 30, 2013 - Saharan dust over the Atlantic Ocean

Saharan dust over the Atlantic Ocean

Dust continued to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in late July 2013, driven by strong winds blowing westward from Western Africa. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on July 20.

The small island visible in the northeast corner of the image, peeking out from under clouds and at the edge of the thick ribbon of dust, is Santo Antão, the largest and most western of the Cape Verde Islands. At least eight other islands, which are usually easily seen from space on a clear day, are mostly hidden from view under the thick, broad band of dust.

The tall volcanic peak found on the island of Fogo creates a sinuous pattern in the clouds on its leeward side, caused by the turbulence created as the wind passes, but the stream of dust appears undisturbed. This suggests that the dust layer is higher than the clouds, and higher than the highest peak, Pico de Fogo, which rises to 9,281 feet (2,829 m).

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 7/20/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC