A dust storm
is a meteorological phenomenon
common on the Great Plains
of North America
, in the Gobi Desert
and in the Sahara Desert
of northern Africa
. Severe dust storms can reduce visibility to zero, making travel impossible, and can blow away valuable topsoil. Drought
and, of course, wind
contribute to the emergence of dust storms, as do poor farming
and grazing practices. The dust picked up in such a storm can be carried thousands of kilometers: Sahara dust storms influence plankton
growth in the western Atlantic Ocean
Dust storms on Mars last longer, and cover larger areas, than on Earth: some of these storms cover the entire planet and last for hundreds of days.
Dust storms can often be observed from satellite photos and can often be viewed on the Internet.