Simpson Desert Dust Storm •

Last update: November 12th, 2019 at 11:00 am

A dust storm blew through Australia’s Simpson Desert on November 21, 2007. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day. In this image, the dust plume forms a blur ranging in color from brick red to pale beige, mirroring the colors of the land surface below. The dust plume blows toward the northwest, extending well into Australia’s Northern Territory.

Straddling the borders of the Northern Territory, Queensland, and South Australia, the Simpson Desert covers 170,000 square kilometers (about 65,000 square miles), receives only slightly more rain than the Sahara Desert, and experiences summertime temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). Such hot, dry conditions make this desert vulnerable to dust storms.

Credit: NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.

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