Heat and dust storms plagued the United Arab Emirates at the end of February 2009. Temperatures soared to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest February temperatures since record keeping began in 1974. Pushed by winds gusting to 35 knots (65 kilometers per hour), dust storms reduced visibility throughout the region, according to the United Arab Emirates-based publication The National.
Parallel plumes of dust blow off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and over the Persian Gulf in this image acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on February 28, 2009. In this true-color image, the beige plumes of dust partially obscure the satellite’s view of the ocean water. In some places, the dust appears to form wave patterns that run perpendicular to the dust plumes. Neither the capital city of Abu Zabi (also known as Abu Zaby or Abu Dhabi) nor the human-engineered Palm Island Resorts escape the plumes.
Part of the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter, or Rub’ al Khali, the United Arab Emirates is covered by sand seas and dry salt lakes. The sand and fine sediments provide ample material for dust storms.