Dust storm across the central Patagonia. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a dust storm across the central Patagonia Desert.
According to NASA, northwesterly winds routinely blow down the eastern side of the Andes Mountains and stir up dust from Argentina’s Lake Colhué Huapi, making it the largest and most active source of dust storms in the region.
While dust storms are common here, scientists are only beginning to track them rigorously and research the role they play in the regional environment. Colhué Huapi dust likely affects the region in several ways, explained NASA remote sensing scientist Santiago Gassó.
By analyzing satellite and surface weather data from the past five decades. mNorth America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea, and to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean. Because it is on the North American Tectonic Plate, Greenland is included as part of North America geographically. North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 16.5% of the Earth’s land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third-largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, and the fourth by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world’s population.des, Gassó found that dust storms peak in this region during the summer, but that wintertime events are also common. According to the analysis, there are usually 15 to 30 moderate to large dust storms each year. Gassó reports that there has also been steady increase in the number of dusty days observed since the 1970s.
“Events like these are a reminder that dust activity is not just a warm weather phenomenon. It can happen in cold places, too. You just need loose soil, limited moisture, and winds.”
The image was captured on May 24, 2021 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory