Dust drifts over the Arabian Sea

By January 13, 2013, the dust storm that originally arose in northern Iran had spread over the Arabian Sea. A veil of dust extended southward past Oman, and eastward to the coast of India. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image on January 13. 

Over most of the area pictured here, the dust was translucent, but off the coast of Oman, a swirl of dust was thick enough to completely hide the water surface below.

Dust plumes initially arose from discrete source points in northern Iran, and the storm likely picked up additional particles as it spread. Over the course of three days, the dust storm traveled roughly 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) to the south-southwest. Over the Arabian Sea, the leading edge of the dust storm spanned about 1,200 kilometers (700 miles).

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Michon Scott.
Instrument: Aqua - MODIS