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.