A massive plume of tan dust covered northern Sudan in late April, 2014. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of the region on April 21.
Strong winds raised sand and dust from the northeastern Sahara Desert, obscuring the land from view. White clouds are evidence of strongly unsettled weather. The driving wind helped create parallel rows of clouds in the northeastern corner of the image. These formations, known as cloud streets, normally align in parallel to the wind – in this case from northeast to southwest. Underneath the cloud streets, a similar alignment can be seen written in the blowing dust.
The White Nile River can be glimpsed in the southeast corner of the image, between clouds and dust. Another glimpse of this river can be seen on the edge of the dust storm in the northwest corner. Between these two points, only dust and cloud is evident.
Sudan is the third largest country in Africa, and sits in the northern section of the continent, with a northeastern coastline bordering the Red Sea. In northern Sudan the land is arid, and the Nubian Desert – the eastern region of the Sahara – dominates the landscape. Southern Sudan, in contrast, receives higher annual rainfall, has a very different ecosystem. Swamps and even rainforest can be found in the south.