Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a dust storm that moved across parts of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in mid-September.
“This image, acquired by the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument on the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite, shows thick plumes of dust blowing hundreds of kilometers across the arid region on September 22, 2023,” said NASA.
“The dust appears to emanate from the ephemeral Hamun wetlands, which partially surround the Iranian city of Zabol. When dry, this area becomes a hotspot for dust storms due to a persistent weather feature known as the Levar wind (or “120-day wind”), which blows out of the northwest from late-May to late-September.”
Across the Sistan-Baluchistan province in southeastern Iran, three people were killed in accidents related to poor visibility and more than 1,300 others sought medical assistance for respiratory, heart, and eye ailments.
According to NASA, more than two decades of low water levels in the Hamun wetlands have led to a significant increase in dust storms. This has been especially the case during the 120-day winds, strong summer winds that occur from late May to late September.
“Water levels are influenced by rainfall and the flow of the Helmand river, which runs from the Hindu Kush mountains across Afghanistan before terminating at the wetlands. More frequent drought since 1999, along with increasing upstream demands on water resources for agriculture and other uses, have amplified the drying,” said NASA.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
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