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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This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated.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.
The mountainous terrain of western Iran appears to be diverting the previous days? dust storms southward across the Persian Gulf. In this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from March 28, 2003, dust is pooled in the valleys closest to the coast and the front stretches across hundreds of miles. Into the waters of the Persian Gulf (center), bright blue swirls of sediment pour in from rivers. In places the swirls appear tinged with green, which suggests some marine plant life could be present. Several thermal anomalies were detected by MODIS and are marked with red dots. In southern Iraq, these appear to be associated with oil fires, which are producing dark, thick smoke plumes (see close up of southern Iraq). Another source of smoke and aerosols is the city of Baghdad, where massive plumes of blackish-brown smoke are streaming southward (see close up of Baghdad.)
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.