Dust Storm Sweeps from Africa into Atlantic

Dust Storm Sweeps from Africa into Atlantic
  • Credit:

    Image courtesy Norman Kuring, SeaWiFS Project

A massive sandstorm blowing off the northwest African desert has blanketed hundreds of thousands of square miles of the eastern Atlantic Ocean with a dense cloud of Saharan sand. The massive nature of this particular storm was first seen in this SeaWiFS image acquired February 26, 2000 when it reached over 1000 miles into the Atlantic.

These storms and the rising warm air can lift dust 15,000 feet or so above the African deserts and then out across the Atlantic, many times reaching as far as the Caribbean where they often require the local weather services to issue air pollution alerts as was recently the case in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Recent studies by the U.S.G.S. have linked the decline of the coral reefs in the Caribbean to the increasing frequency and intensity of Saharan Dust events. Additionally, other studies suggest that Sahalian Dust may play a role in determining the frequency and intensity of hurricanes formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 540x405
  • JPEG 57 KB
  • 1600x1168
  • JPEG 444 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:

    February 26, 2000
  • Visualization Date:

    February 29, 2000
  • Sensor(s):

    OrbView-2 - SeaWiFS


NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration