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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Tue, 08.06.21 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 08 June 2021
June 8, 2021 - Dust off of Western Africa



On June 7, 2021, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of
a vast cloud of dust blowing off of western African. The dust covers
the coastal portions of the African countries of Mauritania (north) and
Senegal (south) and passes over and beyond the Cape Verde Islands. To
the west of Cape Verde Islands, the dust cloud is so thick it obscures
the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean completely from view. North and
northwest of the islands the dust appears to have entrained with the
cloud layer, suggesting that the dust does not lay close the ocean
waters but high in the atmosphere.

Each year tens of millions of tons of dust blow out from North Africa,
lofted out of the Sahara Desert by strong seasonal winds. Huge, showy
plumes like this one sometimes advance across the tropical Atlantic
Ocean towards North or South America. Through viewing the satellite
records, this particular storm appears to have begun on June 2, when
dust began to shift eastward from Mali, Algeria, and Niger. The plume
has steadily increased its span since that day. On June 7, the dust
plume measured more than 2,800 miles (4,500 km), stretching from inland
Africa to far over the Atlantic Ocean.

Dust can degrade air quality and accelerate the melting of snow cover.
But it also plays a major role in Earth’s climate and biological
systems, absorbing and reflecting solar energy and fertilizing ocean
ecosystems with iron and other minerals that plants and phytoplankton
need to grow.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 6/7/2021
Resolutions: 1km (1.5 MB), 500m (4.2 MB), 250m (2.2 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
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