Saharan dust darkens the skies over Sicily •

Saharan dust darkens the skies over Sicily

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features dust over the Mediterranean Sea and southern Italy. Dust from the Sahara Desert was carried by hot winds known as the scirocco.

“The warm, dry air mass picks up moisture over the Mediterranean as it moves north toward areas of lower pressure. The systems usually produce fog or light rain, which can combine with the dust and fall as mud,” says NASA.

“The scirocco on December 7 failed to deliver any rain to Sicily, and skies that day stayed quite dusty, according to Boris Behncke, a volcanologist at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia.”

“The thick haze obscured Behncke’s ground-based view of Mount Etna, 20 kilometers (12 miles) away. However, a close look at the satellite image reveals a snow capped peak surrounded by a ‘halo’ of clear air. Behncke thinks this suggests that the dust was relatively low in altitude.”

The image was captured on December 7, 2022 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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