Saharan dust streams over the Atlantic Ocean. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a huge Saharan dust plume drifting over the North Atlantic Ocean.
By June 18, 2020, satellite data showed that the dust had spread over 2,000 miles.
According to NASA, winds transport about 800 million metric tons of desert dust from North Africa every year.
The Saharan dust helps build beaches in the Caribbean and fertilizes soils in the Amazon, but can also impact air quality in North and South America.
The image was captured with NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite.
The Sahara the Greatest Desert’) is a desert located on the African continent. With an area of 9,200,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi), it is the largest hot desert in the world and the third largest desert overall, smaller only than the deserts of Antarctica and the Arctic.The name ‘Sahara’ is derived from the Arabic word for “desert”, ṣaḥra (صحرا /ˈsˤaħra/).
The desert comprises much of North Africa, excluding the fertile region on the Mediterranean Sea coast, the Atlas Mountains of the Maghreb, and the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan. It stretches from the Red Sea in the east and the Mediterranean in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, where the landscape gradually changes from desert to coastal plains. To the south, it is bounded by the Sahel, a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna around the Niger River valley and the Sudan Region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Sahara can be divided into several regions, including the western Sahara, the central Ahaggar Mountains, the Tibesti Mountains, the Aïr Mountains, the Ténéré desert, and the Libyan Desert.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory