Massive dust storms sweep across North Africa in this image acquired on February 23, 2006. Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya (from left to right) are shown here. The upper right corner of the image shows the “Great Sand Sea” region of the Sahara, while the Rebiana Sand Sea is located in the lower right portion of the image. The left side of the image shows the Algerian section of the Sahara; from north to south, the sand dune desert, or erg, gives way to the rockier “humud”, culminating in the sandstone plateaus shown in the lower left corner of the image. This region is prone to very large storms, which are a hazard to transportation and human health. In addition to the visible bands used to create this image, MODIS collects data in the broadband thermal portion of the spectrum. Researchers (Ogawa et al. 2004) in the journal Earth Interactions, a publication of the American Meteorological Society, used emissivity and reflectance derived from MODIS data to study the climate of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Other researchers have used MODIS imagery to detect large dust storms which could be used as an early warning system.
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