Dust and Smoke over Iraq and the Middle East

Dust and Smoke over Iraq and the Middle East

Between two banks of clouds, a huge sandstorm can be seen blowing over Iraq and parts of Saudi Arabia in this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from Terra satellite on the morning of March 26, 2003. Waves of airborne sand and dust were breaking over Iraq. At right, dust mingles with the clouds, and in the top half of the image, dust shrouds the dark green vegetation of the Fertile Crescent, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

The dust appears thickest at left and bottom center. Notice how at bottom left, parts of Saudi Arabia appear very crisp, with the varied desert terrain and patches of irrigation-produced vegetation easily distinguished. North and east of the area, however, thick dust and sand create a tan shroud over the underlying landscape. A single red box indicates a thermal anomaly in southern Iraq.

Left of center at the top image, streamers of gray smoke are spreading northeastward from locations southeast of Lake Razazah (top left edge). The source of the plumes is unknown. Right of center at the top are the Zagros Mountains of Iran. The high-resolution image shows amazingly fine detail of the ripples and other structure of the dust cloud.

The high-resolution image provided above is 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image at MODIS? maximum spatial resolution of 250 meters.

Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC