Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: April 12, 2012 – Dust over the Sea of Japan

By SpaceRef Editor
April 12, 2012
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Broad swirls of dust traveled across China in early April, 2012, covering the Sea of Japan with broad brown bands as well as covering parts of China, North Korea, Russia and Japan with a fine yellow dust. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) that flys aboard the Terra satellite captured this true-color image on April 9, 2012 at 0210 UTC (1:10 p.m. Vladivostok Time). In this image, Russia’s Far East lies on the northern coast, covered with cloud, dust and haze while North Korea is found on the southern coast. China lies to the west and shares borders with both countries. Widespread dust events are common in this region, especially in spring time, when high-speed surface winds lift dense clouds of fine, dry soil from the arid and semi-arid regions of Mongolia and China. These dust-laden clouds then blow eastward, dropping what is commonly called “yellow sand” over cars, homes and schools as the winds subside. At times the airborne dust and sand have even reached the United States. The advent of the spring yellow sand season in Japan was announced by Japan Today on March 28, when they reported the first observation of the year in Kyushu and Okinawa. This sand affected visibility and noticeably colored laundry and other items. On April 9, the same day this image was captured, Pravda reported that a layer of yellow dust had covered the roads, buildings and cars in the city of Vladivostok. Pravda also reported that the dust storms are expected to continue until the trees start to turn green in China and Mongolia, and predicted that would begin to occur in about two more weeks. Vladivostok can be found in this image as a light gray smudge on the Russian peninsula, due south of grayish Lake Khanka and just north of Russky Island. It lies under a find plume of yellow-brown dust.

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