Dust Blowing Over the Red Sea • Earth.com Dust Blowing Over

Last update: January 19th, 2020 at 8:00 am

Thick plumes of dust have been sweeping eastward from Africa over the Red Sea. On July 9, 2003, the dust storm appears to have intensified, both in terms of thickness and extent. The light tan color of the dust obscures the view of much of the surface below, extending from the northern portion of the Red Sea (upper left of this scene) to the Gulf of Aden (lower right). This image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite.

The high-resolution image provided above is 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image at MODIS’ maximum spatial resolution of 250 meters.

The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. To the north lie the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal). The Red Sea is a Global 200 ecoregion. The sea is underlain by the Red Sea Rift which is part of the Great Rift Valley.

The Red Sea has a surface area of roughly 438,000 km2 (169,100 mi2), is about 2250 km (1398 mi) long and, at its widest point, 355 km (220.6 mi) wide. It has a maximum depth of 3,040 m (9,970 ft) in the central Suakin Trough,and an average depth of 490 m (1,608 ft). However, there are also extensive shallow shelves, noted for their marine life and corals. The sea is the habitat of over 1,000 invertebrate species, and 200 soft and hard corals. It is the world’s northernmost tropical sea.

Credit: Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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