A dense cloud of dust swept across southern Afghanistan and Pakistan on December 20, 2011. The dust was largely hemmed in by the Makran and Sulaiman Ranges in Pakistan with only a few wisps reaching south over the Arabian Sea. By the time Aqua MODIS flew over just over three hours later, the storm had reached the coast. The dust storm continued on December 21.
The storm is being propelled by strong winds from the north. The winds picked up dust from the dry lakebeds in the Hamun wetlands on the border between Afghanistan and Iran. Concentrated plumes of dust rise from the pale wetlands to become a more diffuse cloud in the south and east. Dry lakebeds and wetlands are among the most common sources of dust in the world.
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) took this image from the Terra satelliteDust storms can happen any time of the year in Afghanistan. On average, Afghanistan experiences blowing dust one to two days per month in the winter and six days per month at the height of the summer. Zabon, an Iranian city located near the border in the Hamun wetlands, reports 81 dust storms per year. Blowing dust poses a hazard to transportation. Low visibility closes roads and airports. (Earth Observatory)
If you value what we do here, open your ad-free account and support our journalism.
Producing content you read on this website takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. If you value what we do here, select the level of your support and register your account.
Your support makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share.
All our supporters can browse the website without ads, allowing much faster speeds and a clean interface. Your comments will be instantly approved and you’ll have a direct line of communication with us from within your account dashboard. You can suggest new features and apps and you’ll be able to use them before they go live.
You can choose the level of your support.
Stay kind, vigilant and ready!