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Saharan Dust Between Italy and Greece – May 19th, 2013

39.0N 18.6E

May 19th, 2013 Category: Dust Storms, Image of the day, Winds

Mediterranean Sea – May 19th, 2013

A cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert blows across the Mediterranean Sea, hovering between Italy (left) and Greece (right). The dust is likely related to a phenomenon known as the Sirocco, a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe.

It arises from a warm, dry, tropical airmass that is pulled northward by low-pressure cells moving eastward across the Mediterranean Sea, with the wind originating in the Arabian or Sahara deserts. The hotter, drier continental air mixes with the cooler, wetter air of the maritime cyclone, and the counter-clockwise circulation of the low propels the mixed air across the southern coasts of Europe.

Dust Plumes North and South of Bay of Arguin, Mauritania and Western Sahara – December 17th, 2012

20.0N 12W

December 17th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms, Image of the day

West Africa – December 16th, 2012

Dust blows off the coast of Western Sahara (above) and Mauritania (below), north and south of the green-watered Bay of Arguin. The plume north of the bay blows to the east-northeast, while the one to the south blows east-southeast. Visible in the upper right corner are the Canary Islands, while the Cape Verde Islands can be seen at the lower left. Both archipelagos are fully visible in the full image.

Dust Blowing Off Coast of Mauritania and Western Sahara – January 29th, 2012

20.6N 16.4W

January 29th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms, Image of the day

Mauritania - January 19th, 2012

Dust from the Sahara Desert blows off the coast of Western Sahara and Mauritania and over the Atlantic Ocean. This giant crescent-shaped dust plume spans several hundred kilometers. Here, the dust appears to be blowing southwestward off the coast of Mauritania, but northwestward off the coast of Western Sahara.

Visible through the veil of dust is the Bay of Arguin, or Banc d’Arguin, is a bay on the Atlantic shore of Mauritania. It is south of Cap Blanc, north of Cap Timiris, and contains the islands of Arguin and Tidra. The bay contains the 12,000 km² Banc d’Arguin National Park.

Aïr Mountains Within Sahara Desert, Niger – November 23rd, 2011

18.2N 7.9E

November 23rd, 2011 Category: Deserts, Image of the day, Mountains

Niger - November 23rd, 2011

The Aïr Mountains (also known as the Aïr Massif) is a triangular massif, located in northern Niger, within the Sahara desert. Part of the West Saharan montane xeric woodlands ecoregion, the mountains rise to more than 6,000 ft (1 830 m) and extend over 84 000 km².

Lying in the midst of desert north of the 17th parallel, the Aïr plateau, with an average altitude between 500 and 900 m, forms an island of Sahel climate which supports a wide variety of life, many pastoral and farming communities, and dramatic geological and archaeological sites.

Dust from the Sahara Desert Blowing Over Lake Chad – February 12th, 2011

13.3N 14.1E

February 12th, 2011 Category: Dust Storms, Image of the day, Lakes

Chad - January 16th, 2011

Lake Chad (the green, butterfly-shaped lake near the image center) is located on the edge of the Sahara Desert and surrounded by four countries: Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. Here, dust from the Sahara originating in Chad blows to the southwest, towards the lake.

The dust continues to the southwest, blowing over Cameroon (south of Lake Chad) and Nigeria (southwest of the lake). Hillier terrain in those countries keeps much of the dust from spreading further.