Massive dust storms continue to sweep across North Africa in this image acquired on February 24, 2006. Dust, which appears grayish-pink, is being picked up by wind from the “Great Sand Sea” region of the Sahara (and points South) and transported across the Mediterranean into Southern Europe. The verdant oasis of the Nile Delta stands in sharp contrast to the surrounding desert. Dust storms are a major health concern as well as a hazard to navigation. In recent years, the Armed Forces of the United States have taken an increased interest in monitoring dust storms because they impair visibility, obscure targets, and impact the accuracy of laser-guided weapons. The Navy now uses 7 channels (visible and near infrared) from MODIS imagery to detect dust, track its movement, and to predict future dust storms in support of operations in the Middle East. Advances such as this also have civilian applications, particularly with respect to aircraft navigation.
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