Dust Storm Strips Away Australian Topsoil

Dust Storm Strips Away Australian Topsoil
  • Credit:

    Image courtesy the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

A low-pressure system off the southeastern corner of Australia was drawing out a cloud of dust on March 20, 2003. According to news reports, the dust plume consists primarily of topsoil that strong winds swept up off the parched landscape in that region. The province of Victoria was hit particularly hard and this is considered one of the worst dust storms in that state’s history. There is speculation that the dust plume may travel as far eastward as New Zealand.

This true-color scene was acquired by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) on March 20, 2003. Taking advantage of SeaWiFS’ perspective near the edge of its swath, a data visualization technique can be used to make the image appear as if the sensor had viewed the horizon. However, the seeming blackness of outer space and the blue tinge of atmosphere in this scene are completely artificial.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    March 20, 2003
  • Visualization Date:

    March 20, 2003
  • Sensor(s):

    OrbView-2 - SeaWiFS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration