A wide swath of African dust blew across the Mediterranean Sea in late January, 2014. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured this true-color image on January 20, 2014.
Strong winds blow the camel-colored dust across Libya and to the northeast. The plume passes east of the islands of Malta and Sicily, before curling back over the Mediterranean Sea off of southern Italy.
Dust storms are common in this region. Inland from a narrow ribbon of green on the coast, Libya’s lands are dry, and sand seas are common. Only about 1 percent of the land is arable, and dust storms rank among the country’s leading natural hazards.