The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released these dramatic images on Monday (February 24, 2020) – captured with the NOAA-20 satellite – showing a strong sandstorm that blew large amounts of reddish dust from the Sahara Desert in northern Africa over Spain’s Canary Islands. The islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara. NOAA said:
The murky pall is making visibility extremely difficult, with the sky appearing orange in some places. As a result, more than 800 flights have been canceled or diverted to other airports, stranding hundreds of travelers …
Although conditions have improved today, February 24, and many flights have resumed, airport operator Aena tweeted that passengers should check the status of their flights, as travel may still be disrupted. People in the area, especially those with breathing difficulties, have also been advised to stay inside and keep all doors and windows shut.
Bottom line: Satellite images of dust from the Sahara Desert blowing over the Canary Islands.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.