Dust over the Southern Arabian Peninsula

Dust over the Southern Arabian Peninsula

On March 4, 2012, the thick dust that had hovered over Saudi Arabia a day earlier traveled southward off the edge of the Arabian Peninsula. This natural-color image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, shows a cloud of dust over Yemen, and translucent swirls of dust over the Arabian Sea.

Lines of small clouds cling to the margins of the dust plumes south of Oman. These clouds may result from the same weather front that kicked up high winds and stirred the dust storm. This region is one of the world’s most prolific dust-producing areas, thanks in part to the presence of the sand sea known as Rub’ al Khali. Rub’ al Khali holds about half as much sand as the Sahara Desert.

  1. References

  2. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Forecasting Dust Storms. (Registration required.) Accessed March 6, 2012.
  3. Webster, D., (2005, February 1). Empty Quarter. National Geographic. Accessed March 6, 2012.

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 720x360
  • JPEG
  • 6400x5000
  • JPEG 3 MB
  • GeoTIFF 38 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:

    March 4, 2012
  • Visualization Date:

    March 6, 2012
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration