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The 2009 Sydney Dust Storm

Updated on January 16, 2011

When Sydney-siders Painted the Town Red...

On September 23, 2009, Sydney didn't wake up to its usual sunny sky and fresh breeze, but something that better resembled a barron Martian landscape.

More than 1000 kms long and 500 kms wide, the thick red dust plume was clearly visible from space, and air particle concentrations recorded an unbelieveable 15, 400 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

The dust, some 16 million tonnes in total (!), was carried in by a storm from the red plains of central Australia. The wind, which continued to blow the dust east, not only coated two states red, but also resulted in the loss of 75, 000 tonnes of dust per hour off the east Australian coast.

Below are some pictures of this astounding phenonema, enjoy!


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    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Haha, fair enough attemptedhumour. Don't feel bad, I'd run too if a monolyth was confronting me.

      I was hiding under my veranda when this one came around ;)


    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 7 years ago from Australia

      I was sitting on St Kilda beach in 1983 when i noticed what looked like Ayres Rock heading towards me. Other people stood staring at it trying to work out what it was, whilst i bolted back to the safety of my boarding house. I was entering the boarding house as the dust arrived. Malley dust as in your photos. Another one of natures quirks. Cheers PP