Satellite view of the 2020 Saharan dust cloud today’s Video of the Day from NASA Goddard features a satellite view of the largest known migration of Saharan dust, which ultimately spread over 5,000 miles.
While these Saharan dust events occur every summer, this year’s plume was nicknamed “Godzilla” for the unusually large quantity of dust that it carried.
Within eight days of its departure from the west coast of Africa, the dust reached the United States. impacting air quality from Florida all the way to Kansas.
According to NASA Earth Observatory, Saharan dust plays an important ecological role by fertilizing soils in the Amazon and building beaches in the Caribbean. This animation of the progression Saharan dust cloud across the Atlantic Ocean from June 15 to 25, 2020 combines OMPS aerosol index and VIIRS visible imagery from NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite. The dust plume moved from Africa’s west coast over the Atlantic into the Caribbean Sea and up through the Gulf of Mexico.
The image showed that the dust from Africa’s west coast extended almost to the Lesser Antilles in the western North Atlantic Ocean. NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite showed the blanket of dust had moved over the Gulf of Mexico and extended into Central America and over part of the eastern Pacific Ocean. This animation of the progressingSaharan dust cloud across the Atlantic Ocean.
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer
Video Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio