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Dust and Smoke over Iraq and the Middle East
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Dust storms that blanketed Iraq in previous days have pushed south and east on Thursday, March 27, 2003. In this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from the Aqua satellite, the dust hangs over the Persian Gulf (center), Saudi Arabia (bottom) and washes over the mountainous terrain of western Iran (right of center). At top left the vegetation and wetlands of the Tigris and Euphrates River Valleys—the Fertile Crescent—stands out in dark green against the paler desert terrain.
In southern Iraq, a few thermal anomalies have been detected by MODIS and are marked in red. Associated with these "hot spots" are brownish-black smoke plumes (see close up), the dark color indicating they are likely coming from burning oil. Near the northern end of the Fertile Crescent, large amounts of dark smoke are pouring from locations along the eastern perimeter of Baghdad (see close up.)
The high-resolution image provided here is 500 meters per pixel. The close-ups are part of the image of the full scene at MODIS? maximum spatial resolution of 250 meters, which is provided by the MODIS Rapid Response System.