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2/22/2007

Sandstorm over the Mediterranean

Earth News: Mediterranean Sea
*Satellite Image of African Dust

16 February 2007
A strong wind blows sand and dust across the Mediterranean Sea from the Libyan Desert, located in the northeast section of the Sahara Desert, to Sicily and the southern tip of the Italian Peninsula on 10 February 2007 in this *Envisat image.




Sandstorms are usually the result of atmospheric convection currents, which form when warm, lighter air rises and cold, heavier air sinks. The cold air in this image is visible stretching from the top left side of the image down to the centre and swirling back towards the north just above Libya (represented by the blue arrow in the image left), while the warm air current is seen blowing sand from south to north (represented by the red arrow).


Dust from the Sahara Desert can be transported over thousands of kilometres by convection currents, which also cause other meteorological conditions, such as thunderstorms (marked in the image below). Because the Sahara, where sandstorms are very common, is a major source of mineral dust, large concentrations of the dust can be found in the tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean.
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