Skip all navigation and jump to content Jump to site navigation
NASA Logo - Goddard Space Flight Center

+ NASA Homepage

    
Goddard Space Flight Center
About MODIS News Data Tools /images2 Science Team Science Team Science Team

   + Home
ABOUT MODIS
 

October 25, 2014

October 24, 2014

October 23, 2014

October 22, 2014

October 21, 2014

October 20, 2014

October 19, 2014

 

 

November 14, 2012 - Dust storm over southwest Alaska
Dust storm over southwest Alaska Image used for Spacing Purposes
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 11/6/2012
Resolutions: 1km (409.8 KB)
500m (1.4 MB)
250m (3.5 MB)
Bands Used: 1.4.3
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz
MODIS Land Rapid Response Team,
NASA GSFC

A large plume of dust blew across southwestern Alaska in early November 2012, shrouding much of the land and Bristol Bay with a light colored veil. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on November 6 as it passed over the region. A fine, wide plume passes over the mainland, and then curves with the wind as it crosses the Alaskan Peninsula.

In Alaska, dust can arise from glacial flour or from sediments along riverbeds. Glacial flour is created when glaciers slowly grind over rocks, turning them into a fine dust that can be blown aloft by strong winds. There are many glaciers in the region, and dust is common. Also, autumn is the season when river discharge reaches its annual minimum, which means river beds are maximally exposed, and fine river sediment is most likely to rise with the wind.

While there are potential sources for this dust close to home, some scientists have suggested a different source of this plume - it may be blowing from far distant China.

In early November, severe dust storms struck the Taklimakan Desert of western China, blowing thick layers of dust from that desert eastward. The Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite, (OMPS), an instrument that tracks aerosols worldwide from the Suomi NPP satellite, made observations that indicated dust travelled from the Taklimakan Desert across China, then across the Pacific Ocean to southwestern Alaska from November 2 through November 8, 2012.

At this time, and from this Aqua image alone, the source of the massive dust plume cannot be definitively located. However, the massive size and length of the plume created a spectacular event when viewed from space.

FirstGov logo Privacy Policy and Important Notices NASA logo

Curator: Brandon Maccherone
NASA Official: Shannell Frazier

NASA Home Page Goddard Space Flight Center Home Page