MONDAY, APRIL 10 - SAHARAN SAND GOES AIRBORNE


NASA runs a global ocean monitoring program known as SeaWIFS, whose primary goal is to look at our planet from space, in color, to sense changes in the oceans.

But the project also gives meteorologists some fantastic views of the atmosphere. Here's one, taken in late February. At bottom right is the Sahara Desert of northwest Africa - Spain is in the upper right. To the left, the deep blue, is the Atlantic Ocean, while clouds are white. See the trail of dusty brown extending off Africa. That's a massive sandstorm blowing west from the desert, blanketing parts of the Atlantic with a cloud of Saharan sand.

In this case, winds blew most of the sand north and then east, back towards Spain. But occasionally, the sand crosses the ocean, to the Caribbean, where air pollution alerts have to be issued for dust that literally came, out of Africa.

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