Dust over the Arabian Peninsula

Dust over the Arabian Peninsula

After two successive days of windy, stormy weather over the eastern Mediterranean, dust continued traveling eastward over the Arabian Peninsula. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on December 13, 2010.

A wide swath of dust blows across Iraq, Kuwait, and northern Saudi Arabia toward the Persian Gulf. Ripples appear on the dust plume’s surface, especially over Kuwait. Multiple plumes blow over the gulf, contrasting strongly with the deep blue ocean waters below.

Although skies are clear over part of Saudi Arabia (image lower left), dust partly or completely hides the land surface throughout Iraq. Just west of a cloudbank partially covering Iran, skies are clear. The clouds in this image may be part of the same system that brought violent weather to the eastern Mediterranean two days earlier. Following years of drought in some areas, the sudden change in weather included snow, heavy rain, strong winds, and high waves. Sea and air traffic were disrupted throughout the region, and several deaths were attributed to the storms.

  1. References

  2. BBC. (2010, December 12). Middle East countries hit by storms. Accessed December 13, 2010.
  3. Boncompagni, H. (2010, December 12). Sand, snow, thunderstorms wreak Mideast havoc. Agence France-Presse. Accessed December 13, 2010.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    December 13, 2010
  • Visualization Date:

    December 13, 2010
  • Sensor(s):

    Aqua - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration