Spring dust storm lingers over the Mediterranean Sea - Earth.com

Spring dust storm lingers over the Mediterranean Sea

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a spring dust storm over the Middle East in late April 2022. The photo shows dust moving over the eastern Mediterranean Sea. 

According to NASA, the dust storm was triggered by thunderstorms that also brought hail and flash floods. 

“The dust turned skies yellow, reduced visibility, disrupted aviation, and degraded air quality,” reports NASA.

“In Israel, the Environmental Protection Ministry and Health Ministry warned people with health risks, such as heart and lung ailments, to stay inside. In Jordan, low-visibility conditions caused by gusting winds carrying dust and sand disrupted aviation. Heavy thunder and hail showers and flash flooding also prompted emergency alerts. In Saudi Arabia, large hail and thunderstorms caused flash flooding.”

The storm emerged after a weather system known as a Red Sea low carried in a hot air mass from the Arabian Peninsula. This led to the atmospheric instability that triggers thunderstorms and dust storms. 

“In Jordan, most spring dust storms occur in April and form when strong winds blowing over dry, desert soils in eastern and southern Jordan become hotter and drier, lofting sand and dust,” says NASA.

“According to a World Bank report on sand and dust storms, land-use changes in the past few decades have increased the number of dust sources in the Middle East, although most are still largely natural sources like deserts and dry river beds.”

The image was captured on April 24 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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