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Dust Storm over 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This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated.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.
A dust storm struck Iraq and neighboring countries in early January 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on January 8. A veil of dust extended from northern Saudi Arabia toward the north and east. Dust plumes hovered over parts of Iraq, Iran, and the Persian Gulf. Dust engulfed Kuwait, where the Meteorology Department warned residents to expect high winds and low visibility.
Sand seas cover wide expanses of Saudi Arabia, and Iraq is rich in fine sediments from rivers, marshes, and lakes. The fine particles provide plentiful material for frequent dust storms.