Dust from Africa streams through the Tokar Gap - Earth.com

Dust from Africa streams through the Tokar Gap

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features dust flowing through the Tokar Gap, where the easternmost extent of the African Sahel meets the Red Sea.

“Mountain chains border both sides of the Red Sea, the long narrow inlet of the Indian Ocean that separates Saudi Arabia to the east from Egypt, Sudan, and Eritrea to the west. One major exception is the Tokar Gap, a 100-kilometer (60-mile) break in the Red Sea Hills that serves as a conduit for both winds and dust,” says NASA.

“In the summer, strong surface winds frequently stream through the gap from the southwest, often funneling narrow plumes of dust from the Tokar Delta over the Red Sea.”

The photo was captured on June 24, 2023 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The image shows a plume of dust from Sudan pushing through the Tokar Gap.

“In the winter, the winds reverse and winds typically gather over the Red Sea and move through the gap toward the southwest,” says NASA.

“A 2019 analysis of weather conditions that fuel summer dust storms indicated that stronger winds moving through the Tokar Gap – and warmer air and soil temperatures – have increased the amount of airborne dust found in this area since 2002.”

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/ Wanmei Liang


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