Dust storm over the Red Sea

Dust storm over the Red Sea
  • Credit:

    Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

On June 16, 2004, a huge plume of dust blew out of the deserts of Sudan and Eritrea and over the southern Red Sea. The plume grew dramatically in size over the course of a few hours, as is shown in these Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images. The earlier MODIS image, from the Terra satellite, shows a much more compact, almost completely opaque plume. When the Aqua satellite flew over a few hours later, the plume had spread over the Red Sea.

The bulk of the plume narrowly missed covering Port Sudan, which lies about halfway up the vertical strip of coastline. It also missed covering the Dahlak Archipelago by a much greater margin, though a thin veil of dust still managed to reach that far. This archipelago is visible at the bottom right corner of the image. It has been known since Roman times as a source of pearls.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    June 16, 2004
  • Visualization Date:

    June 18, 2004
  • Sensor(s):

    Aqua - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration