Iraq

Media reports of an act of sabotage along oil pipelines in northern Iraq could explain the black cloud of oil smoke visible in this image of the region, captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite on August 17, 2003.
Source: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Dust storm in Iraq

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA´s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of dust blowing off the deserts of Iraq towards the Persian Gulf on September 7, 2003. The Tigris River snakes through the upper left of the image. The dust seems to be originating around Hawr Dalmaj, a body of water just east of the Tigris River. Baghdad is the light grey patch where the river seems to disappear.
Source: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Iraq

This true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) from October 24, 2002, shows the Mesopotamian Fertile Crescent running through the deserts of Iraq. Cradled between the Euphrates River to the west and the Tigris River to the east, the area has been a haven for humans and other life for thousands of years. Increasing human demand for water has placed great pressure on the once fertile wetlands, and they have shrunk considerably. In southern Iraq, MODIS detected several heat signatures, which are likely gas flares from oil wells in the region. South of Iraq is Saudi Arabia and to the east is Iran. To the north is Turkey, and to the northwest is Syria. The Euphrates River stretches down into Iraq from Syria.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Dust storm over the Persian Gulf

On Monday, March 24, dust had once again blown over Iraq and the Middle East. This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from the Terra satellite shows a shroud of airborne dust over the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. In the center of the image, some thermal anomalies were detected by MODIS and are marked with red dots. Dark smoke plumes from the “hot spot” locations are blowing northwestward and are blending in with the landscape.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Oil fires in Iraq

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. 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 isnt 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.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Oil fires in Iraq

Northwest of center of this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from April 3, 2003, black smoke hangs over Baghdad, contrasting sharply against the muted green vegetation in the Fertile Crescent and the surrounding desert landscape. Several thermal signatures were detected by MODIS and are marked with red dots. Smoke has shifted direction since yesterday, April 2. The close up of Baghdad shows smoke drifting southward on April 2 and northward on April 3. A few thermal signatures in southern Iraq are likely associated with the few oil wells still reported to be burning in the region. Black smoke pours from these locations as well. Highly reflective desert sand and soil pours into the Persian Gulf via the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, coloring waters bright blue-green. Deeper greens may indicate the presence of microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton. Running diagonally from the top center to the lower right of the image, the rugged Zagros Mountain Range is covered with a hint of green.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Smoke plume from oil fire near Baghdad, Iraq

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite captured this image of oil smoke over central Iraq on June 25, 2003. The smoke appears as dark brown or black smudges in the center of the image, near Baghdad. A smaller, fading plume is visible to the west, along the Euphrates River. A plume of white smoke originating at the top of the image drifts west and then southeast. This is smoke from a sulfur fire at an industrial sulfur facility in northern Iraq. According to local news reports, the burning sulfur is creating a health and environmental hazard, killing summer crops, and filling the air with poisonous gases. Imagery captured as recently as July 7, 2003, shows the fire is still burning.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Toxic sulfur smoke across Iraq

A fire burning at an industrial sulfur processing facility in northern Iraq at the junction of the Tigris (flowing in from North) and Great Zab (northeast) Rivers billowed white smoke over Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries beginning on June 25, 2003. The fire continued to burn for two weeks, spreading the toxic, sulfur-containing smoke over a wide area. According to local media reports, the smoke was responsible for crop damage and other environmental problems as well as respiratory distress among people in the area, including at least two deaths. These image of the white smoke hanging over the region were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra and Aqua satellites between June 25 and July 4, 2003. In some of the images, black or dark brown oil smoke hangs in the air as well.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Toxic sulfur smoke across Iraq

A fire burning at an industrial sulfur processing facility in northern Iraq at the junction of the Tigris (flowing in from North) and Great Zab (northeast) Rivers billowed white smoke over Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries beginning on June 25, 2003. The fire continued to burn for two weeks, spreading the toxic, sulfur-containing smoke over a wide area. According to local media reports, the smoke was responsible for crop damage and other environmental problems as well as respiratory distress among people in the area, including at least two deaths. These image of the white smoke hanging over the region were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra and Aqua satellites between June 25 and July 4, 2003. In some of the images, black or dark brown oil smoke hangs in the air as well.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Dust storm in Iraq

A dust storm in Iraq (top) and Saudi Arabia (bottom) spreads desert sands across the region. The dust obscures the wetlands along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (green area at right of the image). Red dots indicate fire detections, possibly flares or fires at oil and gas wells. This image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite on February 20, 2003.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC