During wet years, a series of shallow lakes and wetlands straddle the Afghanistan-Iran border. At other times, the dry Sistan Wetlands are a significant source of dust. The sediment left after water evaporates from the wetland is fine and easily lofted on the wind. On November 15, 2009, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this true-color image of a typical dust storm over the Sistan Wetlands.
The dried wetlands and lakebeds are pale tan in contrast to the darker tan of the surrounding desert. The airborne dust is similarly pale in color. Much of the dust seems to be coming from the largest lakebed, the Hamun-e Saberi.
The large image is the highest resolution version of the image available. The image is available in additional resolutions from the MODIS Rapid Response Team.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek, NASA’s Earth Observatory.