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Viewable Images

High resolution Image from April 02, 2003

Image from Mar. 25

Image from Mar. 21

Image from Mar. 20

High resolution image from March 26, 2003

High resolution image of Iraqi dust storm - March 25, 2003

High resolution image of Iraqi fires from March 21, 2003

High resolution image of Iraqi dust storm from March 20, 2003

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March/April 2003 - (date of web publication)

April 02, 2003 - Oil Fires in Iraq - Close-up of Baghdad


April 02 , 2003

Image Courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA-GSFC


On Wednesday, April 2, 2003, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite captured this clear image of the Middle East and surrounding countries. The most striking feature of the image is the large blackish-brown cloud of smoke blanketing Baghdad in the center of the image (see close up of Baghdad). Several thermal anomalies have been detected by MODIS—some in Baghdad and others in southern Iraq—and are marked with red dots.

It is not unusual for MODIS to detect thermal signatures at oil wells or refineries. Underground, great pressure keeps various flammable gases mixed in with the liquid oil. When the oil is brought to the surface where air pressure isn't as great, those gases bubble up out of the oil are typically burned off, giving off a thermal signature and sometimes smoke. Other processes of oil production and refinement produce detectable thermal signatures. The hot spots detected right of image center may be from oil production and refinement. The plumes of smoke coming from the locations in southern Iraq, however, are larger than what MODIS typically sees.

March 26, 2003 - Low Pressure System/Dust Storm in Middle East


March 26, 2003

Image Courtesy SeaWiFS Project/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center andOrbimage

This true-color SeaWiFS image shows the counterclockwise swirl of a low-pressure system over the Middle East on the morning of March 26, 2003. The system appears to be scooping up dust (light brown pixels) from the deserts beneath it and pushing the dust toward the southeast. This image is composed of data from two consecutive orbits of the OrbView-2 satellite, collected at 8:30 and 10:10 UTC.

There is a different type of aerosol plume which is gray in color in the northwest corner (upper left) of this scene. This is probably pollution blowing into the region from Europe.

The western half of the Sea of Azov, the smaller body of water just north of the Black Sea, looks like it is still covered with large pieces of sea ice. The snow-covered mountains of the Pamirs are visible at the right edge of the image to the north of the dark band of the Indus River valley.

Image courtesy the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

March 25, 2003 - Dust Storm in the Middle East



Image 1

Image Courtesy SeaWiFS/Orbimage - March 25, 2003

On Tuesday, March 25, the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) captured this true-color scene of a very large dust storm blowing eastward over the Middle East region. The line of dust (tan pixels) can be seen in this image extending from Sudan, Africa, northeastward over the Red Sea across northern Saudia Arabia and into western Iraq. News reports indicate visibility on the ground is as low as 500 meters in some places hit by the storm.




fires in Southern Iraq

Southern Iraq - Fires

March 21, 2003


dust storm in Southern Iraq

Southern Iraq, Dust Storms

March 20, 2003


These images of Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Saudi Arabia and Iran were acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite on March 20 & 21, 2003 (late morning local time in Baghdad).

The March 20, 2003 image shows dust spreading over the Persian Gulf. The March 21, 2003 shows large plumes of black smoke spreading over the Gulf. The sources of the plumes are consistent with known oil well locations. The amount of smoke being produced is larger than normal smoke produced by oil wells in the region.

Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA.

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