Dust across Kazakhstan on July 20, 2005. The Terra MODIS instrument took this picture the same day, also capturing images of the Syrdar’ya River at bottom, bright white salt pans, and the myriad shades of brown deserts that stretch across the the southern end of the country. Kazakhstan is in an arid region that is no less beautiful for its lack of thick vegetation; it is also the ninth-largest country in the world covering as much land as all of Western Europe.
Immediately north of the dust is a bank of clouds, perhaps associated with the same weather system that kicked up the dust. Sprinkled throughout northern Kazakhstan are hotspots where the sensor picked up anomalously warm surface temperatures. Likely indications of fires, these hotspots appear as red dots.