Dust continued blowing over the Middle East on March 4, 2010. The previous day, multiple dust plumes arose in Jordan and Syria, blowing toward the east-northeast. By the time the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on March 4, a thick dust plume had formed over Kuwait and the northwestern tip of the Persian Gulf. Some of this dust had likely remained aloft since the day before.
An opaque dust plume some 100 kilometers (60 miles) in width extends from Saudi Arabia across eastern Kuwait and into Iran, where the dust appears to mingle with clouds. Thick enough to completely obscure the satellite’s view of the planet’s surface, the dust plume hides part of the Persian Gulf. Both east and west of the dust plume, however, skies are largely clear. The cloudbank over Iran might be associated with the same weather pattern that stirred the dust. The region experienced a days-long pattern of unsettled weather in late February and early March 2010, according to news reports.
Compared to summer months, Iraq and Kuwait experience relatively few dust storms in March, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Winds can stir dust, however, when storm fronts arise in the region.
NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.