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Dust over Southeast Australia Seen from Space

Published by Matt on Wed Dec 2, 2009 3:44 pm via: source
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Dry, windy weather sent clouds of dust across southeastern Australia on November 29, 2009. The tan dust reduced visibility and prompted the New South Wales Government to issue health warnings asking people to stay inside as much as possible. Blowing dust can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat and can make breathing difficult.

Dust over Southeast Australia. Credit: NASA

Dust over Southeast Australia. Credit: NASA

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this photo-like image of the storm at 2:15 p.m., local time. The dust appears to be concentrated most strongly offshore. Plumes of pale gray smoke blend with the smoke. The plumes rise from fires, which are outlined in red. The hot and windy conditions that gave rise to the dust storm also increased the fire danger in southeastern Australia.

The high winds and blowing dust are likely related to the same high pressure system over the Tasman Sea that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology cited as one of the culprits in a springtime heatwave plaguing southern Australia in November 2009.

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