Massive amounts of dust shrouded the Arabian Peninsula and Northeastern Africa in mid-June 2021.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of just a portion of the wide-spread sandstorm on June 14. On that day, sand and dust covered parts of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Dust also stretched over the Arabian Sea to reach western India and Pakistan.
Most of the dust appeared to rise from the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. Also called the Rub’ al Khali, this extremely arid region is the world’s largest sand sea, holding about half as much sand as the Sahara Desert. The Empty Quarter covers 583,000 square kilometers (225,000 square miles), and stretches over parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.