Huge dust blocks fly over 3,200km at sea

Large amounts of dust from the African desert are carried by the wind across the Atlantic Ocean, contributing to the creation of beaches and fertile soil.

Suomi NPP satellite photographed light brown Sahara dust flying over the North Atlantic on June 18. The image shows dust from the west coast of Africa spreading near the Lesser Antilles island group, spanning more than 3,200km.

Picture 1 of Huge dust blocks fly over 3,200km at sea
Huge blocks of dust fly from the African coast across the Atlantic. (Photo: NASA).

Colin Seftor, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, makes a video of the movement of dust particles and aerosols. "The video includes images from June 13 to 18, showing the giant Sahara cloud formed by strong winds rising, then carried on by the west wind. The wind is blowing them across the Atlantic. Yang, will eventually come to North America and South America , " Seftor said.

Each year, hundreds of millions of tons of dust are washed up from the African deserts and blown across the Atlantic. They contribute to the creation of Caribbean beaches and enrich the land in the Amazon. This amount of dust can also affect air quality in North America and South America.

NASA is studying the involvement of African dust during tropical storm formation. In 2013, one of the goals of the agency's HS3 program was to explore the role of the hot, dry, dusty Sahara Air (SAL) in the formation and strengthening of tropical storms.

Suomi NPP is the first step to help NASA build a new generation of Earth observation satellite system with the task of collecting data on long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions. NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Department of Defense, cooperates to develop this satellite.


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