Spring and summer are the prime seasons for dust storms in China’s Taklimakan Desert. On April 1, 2015, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of dust from the desert and from the greater Tarim Basin.
The Tarim is bordered by the Tian Shan mountains to the north (obscured by clouds in this image) and the Kunlun Shan mountains to the south. The basin opens up on its east side, but that’s not necessarily an escape route for dust. The prevailing low-altitude winds come from the east, keeping most dust below 5 kilometers—about the height of the mountain ranges—and confined to the desert. Read more