Dust Storm in the Middle East

Dust Storm in the Middle East

An intense dust storm blew over the Middle East in April 2011. Dust plumes extended from the western shore of the Persian Gulf to the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on April 13, 2011.

Dust is thickest over northern Saudi Arabia, southern Iraq, and Kuwait—the latter being completely covered by dust plumes. Dust also hides the northwestern shoreline of the Persian Gulf. On April 13, United Press International reported that the dust storm had paralyzed Kuwait, stalling air traffic and oil exports. The dust likely picked up material from the vast sand seas of Saudi Arabia.

The opaque plume covers the southwestern tip of Iran, and thinner plumes extend northeast across Iran and the Caspian Sea. The northeastern margin of the storm appears over Turkmenistan.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.

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