Dust Storm over Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran
acquired June 4, 2012 download large image (1 MB, JPEG, 3000x4000)
acquired June 4, 2012 download GeoTIFF file (12 MB, TIFF)
acquired June 4, 2012 download Google Earth file (KMZ)

A dust storm stirred in the Hamun wetlands along the Iran-Afghanistan border on June 3, 2012. By the following day, the dust plumes had grown, spreading far south into Pakistan. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image on June 4.

When moisture is scarce, areas like the Hamun wetlands transform to dry lakebeds, and the fine sediments provide material for dust storms. Multiple dry lakebeds occur along the borders between Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, in addition to the Hamun wetland area. High temperatures can also contribute to dust storms by making air near the ground unstable. In such conditions, even light winds can loft dust into the air.

  1. References

  2. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Forecasting Dust Storms. (Registration required).

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Michon Scott.

Aqua - MODIS

Dust Storm over Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran

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