A plume of sand from the African desert in a photo from a satellite

Strong winds in the African desert formed in mid-May a huge plume of dust moving from West Africa over the Atlantic Ocean. It was visible even from outer space.

On May 9, at 12:10 pm World Time, the MODIS spectroradiometer for moderate resolution images, mounted on NASA’s Terra satellite, took a snapshot of the natural colors of the rising sand and other substances. The trail extended south-west to the island of Cape Verde and beyond.

Africa is the world’s largest source of dust in the atmosphere – almost 70 percent of the world’s total. Aerial mineral dust rising from the world’s deserts carries nutrients to the soil and the ocean and influences the composition of the atmosphere and climate.

After about 30 minutes, after MODIS took a photo, the astronauts of the ISS flew over the region and made a video with the HDEV camera installed at the orbital station.

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