Oil fires in Iraq

Oil fires in Iraq
  • Credit:

    Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Northwest of center of this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from April 3, 2003, black smoke hangs over Baghdad, contrasting sharply against the muted green vegetation in the Fertile Crescent and the surrounding desert landscape. Several thermal signatures were detected by MODIS and are marked with red dots. Smoke has shifted direction since yesterday, April 2. The close up of Baghdad shows smoke drifting southward on April 2 and northward on April 3. A few thermal signatures in southern Iraq are likely associated with the few oil wells still reported to be burning in the region. Black smoke pours from these locations as well.

Highly reflective desert sand and soil pours into the Persian Gulf via the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, coloring waters bright blue-green. Deeper greens may indicate the presence of microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton. Running diagonally from the top center to the lower right of the image, the rugged Zagros Mountain Range is covered with a hint of green.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    April 3, 2003
  • Visualization Date:

    April 3, 2003
  • Sensor(s):

    Aqua - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration