February 25, 2024 - Dust Cloud over the Caspian Sea


A tan shroud of dust blew over the Caspian Sea in mid-February 2024.The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of the dust-filled scene on February 19.

The dust cloud became visible as cloud-filled, stormy skies parted temporarily to permit a view of the Caspian Sea. The nearly week-long storm brought heavy snow to areas east of the Caspian Sea, including Kazakhstan (north) and Turkmenistan (south). The freshly fallen snow shows up as a blanket of white in the east. Although it looks similar in color to snow, the white swath over the western portion of the Caspian is actually a large bank of cloud associated with the ongoing winter weather event.

The source of the dust is not evident in this image and there are several potential sources of dust near the Caspian Sea. Given the large size of the dust cloud, the location, and what appears to be the prevailing winds at the time, the most likely source is an area of large dune fields west of the Volga River. The Volga River is the longest river in Europe and runs through Russia with its delta flowing into the northeastern Caspian Sea just south of the Kazakhstan border.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 2/19/2024
Resolutions: 1km (68.7 KB), 500m (207.8 KB), 250m (592.2 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC