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10 dust storms as seen from space

Aug. 14, 2012, 6:04 p.m.
dust storm in Phoenix

Photo: Alan Stark/Flickr

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A sea of dust approaches

You’re driving along a desert highway when almost without warning, blinding, choking dust surrounds your car, filling the air with detritus. You pull your car off the road, kill the lights and wait it out. What happened?

Dust storms are an increasingly common problem in the world as arid conditions leave behind mounds of dry, loose soil. As climate change and water shortages work in tandem, some experts wonder if we've set ourselves up for a 21st-century Dust Bowl. Pictured here is a monster dust storm engulfing Phoenix, Ariz., on July 31, 2011. This is what these storms look like here on Earth, but NASA offers a different view of these incredible storms from space. Here are 10 images of these magnificent forces of nature as seen from above. (Text: Katherine Butler)