Sheets of dust blew across the Gulf of Aden in mid-July 2019, shifting between Somalia and Yemen. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of the sand storm on July 14. Both Djibouti (surrounding the v-shaped Gulf of Tadjoura) and Eritrea, to the west of Djibouti, were also affected.
Sand and dust storms are common hazards in arid and semi-arid regions worldwide. When strong winds blow across bare, dry soils, sand and dust is lifted into the atmosphere and can be transported hundreds or thousands of miles. The main source of mineral dusts come from Northern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia and China. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports that global estimates of dust emissions, mainly derived from simulation models, vary between one and three Gigatons per year.