<p>It's a beige holiday season for the western Sahara as hot, dry winds kick up massive dust clouds in a picture taken December 28. The <a href="http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/">Moderate Resolution Imaging Spetroradiometer</a> (MODIS), an instrument riding on <a href="http://terra.nasa.gov/">NASA's Terra satellite</a>, snapped this natural color view as the dust moved west over the Atlantic ocean.</p><p>Although large dust storms can be considered natural hazards, they're an <a href="http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=44169">important source of minerals for the Amazon River Basin</a> and have been known to trigger phytoplankton blooms in the eastern Atlantic.</p>

Desert Winds

It's a beige holiday season for the western Sahara as hot, dry winds kick up massive dust clouds in a picture taken December 28. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spetroradiometer (MODIS), an instrument riding on NASA's Terra satellite, snapped this natural color view as the dust moved west over the Atlantic ocean.

Although large dust storms can be considered natural hazards, they're an important source of minerals for the Amazon River Basin and have been known to trigger phytoplankton blooms in the eastern Atlantic.

Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS/NASA

Space Pictures This Week: Planets Suck, Fissures Fume

Giant planets hoover gas, a volcano spews, and Dallas twinkles in the latest space pictures.

Read This Next

The science behind seasonal depression
These 3,000-year-old relics were torched and buried—but why?
How the Holocaust happened in plain sight

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet