June 3, 2011 - Dust storm in Iraq

Dust storm in Iraq

The opening days of June, 2011 proved dusty in southwestern Asia, as dust storms swept over the region. By June 2, a thick layer of dust swirled across Iraq, obscuring much of the land under a bright beige haze. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this true color image at 07:55 UTC (10:55 AM Arabia Standard Time) on that same day.

Black lines have been overlain on the MODIS image to delineate country borders. From the top (north) of the image traveling from west to east, the countries include: Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The heaviest blanket of dust appears in a crescent overlying Iraq. Baghdad, the capital city with a population of over five million people, is completely obscured by the dust cloud.

According to Reuters, dust hung heavily over the rooftops of Baghdad on June 2, and enshrouded the city in a beige haze. It caused cars to travel slowly, while police officers donned face masks in order to direct traffic through the dusty streets.

It was also reported that hospital and emergency rooms were packed with people complaining about breathing problems, especially asthmatics and the elderly. The dust is very fine, and filters through windows and under doors, so protection from the dust is difficult, even if one stays indoors.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 6/2/2011
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC