Sahara Desert Dust Storm

Sahara Desert Dust Storm

Dust plumes blew across the western Sahara Desert on January 18, 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day.

Arising from discrete source points, the dust blows from northeast to southwest. Sand seas straddle the Mauritania-Algeria border, and many of the dust plumes arise in that region. In the southwest, over Mauritania, the plumes coalesce into a large mass of dust spanning more than 200 kilometers. Thinner plumes blow westward over Western Sahara toward the Atlantic coast.

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 720x480
  • JPEG
  • 4000x3000
  • JPEG 1 MB
  • GeoTIFF 14 MB
  • KMZ 2 KB

Note: Often times, due to the size, browsers have a difficult time opening and displaying images. If you experiece an error when clicking on an image link, please try directly downloading the image (using a right click, save as method) to view it locally.


  • Data Date:

    January 18, 2012
  • Visualization Date:

    January 19, 2012
  • Sensor(s):

    Aqua - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration