View Full Version : MODIS: Dust storm across Afghanistan

tlr online
24-10-04, 23:00
What was once a lush oasis in southwestern Afghanistan and eastern Iran is today a desert. This true-color Terra MODIS image from October 9, 2004, shows silt and dust from the Hamoun Wetlands floor blowing south in sheer billowing clouds. Prolonged and severe drought over the past six years - as well as decades of conflict and water mismanagement - dried up 98 percent of the Helmand River's water flow. In 2003, the UNEP reported that 99 percent of the wetlands had dried up.

The waters of the Helmand River are fueled by melting snowfall in the Hindu Kush. When snowfall decreases in the Kush, water in the River decreases as well. The lower the level of water in the river, the more the wetlands dry out. The wetlands have dried out before, but this drought period is the longest and most severe on record.

The newly exposed silt is easily picked by dust storms that frequently sweep through the Sistan Basin where the wetlands were located.