Dust plumes blew out of the Gobi Desert in northwestern China on April 26 and 27, and NASA’s Aqua satellite was there to capture images of the storms from space, according to the agency’s Earth Observatory website.
Several natural-color photos taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite show the giant dust clouds as they "fanned out toward the southeast" from the Mongolian border towards Beijing.
By April 27, "a veil of dust hung over eastern China, with a fairly thick plume stretching across Bo Hai," according to Earth Observatory.
The Gobi Desert, which sits on the border between China and Mongolia, frequently produces dust storms during the spring, which generally peak in April, according to a climatology study of Mongolia published by Elsevier. The study goes on to show that most of southern Mongolia sees dust storms on an average of 20 to 30 days a year.