From Flickr: “Baja California and Mexico” by NASA on The Commons

Dust clouds blowing out of Mexico across an otherwise cloud-free view of Baja California.

The natural-color images required to make this oblique view were acquired on November 27, 2011, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The Ocean Color Team at NASA Goddard processes images like this to help assess the presence of sediment and plankton in the sea. Dust storms interfere with that processing, as the sandy aerosols block much of the incoming sunlight and the outgoing, reflected light.

Dust storms can disturb human activity on land, but once they blow out over the Gulf of California and Pacific Ocean, they help fertilize the waters with nutrients that promote phytoplankton blooms. In winter, the waters around Baja are often full of whales, as the largest creatures in the sea often eat the smallest plankton.

Satellite: Aqua
Sensor: MODIS

Image # :
Date: November 27, 2011

via Flickr