Saharan dust off West Africa

Saharan dust off West Africa
  • Credit:

    Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

A sinuous river of dust snakes out over the Atlantic Ocean off of the western coast of Africa in this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image taken by the Terra satellite on December 13, 2003. Over subsequent days, the plume snaked a westward track over the Atlantic toward the Caribbean.

Trade winds carry the dust across the Ocean, where it is then deposited into the waters of the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and western Atlantic. Minerals in the dust have been linked to the emergence of harmful algal blooms, which are also called red tides.

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 750x1025
  • JPEG 156 KB
  • 1500x2050
  • JPEG 551 KB
  • 3000x4100
  • JPEG 2 MB
  • 6000x8200
  • JPEG 5 MB

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:

    December 13, 2003
  • Visualization Date:

    December 15, 2003
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration