Dust Over the Canary Islands • Earth.com Dust Over the Canary Islands

Dust Over the Canary Islands

Dust Over the Canary Islands. A graceful arc of Saharan dust is streaming off the coast of northwest Africa and sweeping out over the Atlantic Ocean and the Canary Islands in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from the Aqua satellite on February 18, 2004. Dust storms like this can be both helpful and harmful to different places and ecosystems. The dust acts like a fertilizer for ocean waters depleted of iron and other nutrients that marine plants need to grow, but it also can carry disease-causing bacteria and fungi, which damages coral reefs in the Caribbean. The dust itself can spread to North and South America and cause respiratory distress in people who are sensitive.
The high-resolution image provided above is 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image at additional resolutions.

The Canary Islands (/kəˈnɛəri/SpanishIslas Canariaspronounced [ˈislas kaˈnaɾjas]), also known informally as the Canaries, are a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in a region known as Macaronesia. At their closest point to the African mainland, they are 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Morocco. They are the southernmost of the autonomous communities of Spain, and are located in the African Tectonic Plate. The archipelago is economically and politically European, and is part of the European Union.

The eight main islands are (from largest to smallest in area) TenerifeFuerteventuraGran CanariaLanzaroteLa PalmaLa GomeraEl Hierro and La Graciosa. The archipelago includes many smaller islands and islets, including AlegranzaIsla de LobosMontaña ClaraRoque del Oeste, and Roque del Este. It also includes a number of rocks, including those of Salmor, Fasnia, Bonanza, Garachico, and Anaga). In ancient times, the island chain was often referred to as “the Fortunate Isles”. The Canary Islands are the southernmost region of Spain, and the largest and most populous archipelago of Macaronesia.Because of their location, the Canary Islands have historically been considered a bridge between the four continents of AfricaNorth AmericaSouth America, and Europe

Credit: Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

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