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Iraq’s Alluvial Plain – July 10th, 2009

31.8N 45.9E

July 10th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

Iraq - June 3rd, 2009

Iraq - June 3rd, 2009

An alluvial plain, visible in the center of the image, begins north of Baghdad and extends to the Persian Gulf (lower right). Here the Tigris (above) and Euphrates (below) Rivers lie above the level of the plain in many places.

The whole area is a river delta interlaced by the channels of the two rivers and by irrigation canals. Intermittent lakes, fed by the rivers in flood, also characterize this area of Iraq.

A fairly large area (15,000 km² or 5,800 mi²) just above the confluence of the two rivers at Al Qurnah and extending east of the Tigris beyond the Iranian border is marshland, known as Hawr al Hammar, the result of centuries of flooding and inadequate drainage. Much of it is permanent marsh, but some parts dry out in early winter, and other parts become marshland only in years of great flood.

Because the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates above their confluence are heavily silt-laden, irrigation and fairly frequent flooding deposit large quantities of silty loam in much of the delta area. Windborne silt also contributes to the total deposit of sediments.

It has been estimated that the delta plains are built up at the rate of nearly twenty centimeters in a century. In some areas, major floods lead to the deposit in temporary lakes of as much as thirty centimeters of mud.

The Tigris and Euphrates also carry large quantities of salts. These, too, are spread on the land by sometimes excessive irrigation and flooding. A high water table and poor surface and subsurface drainage tend to concentrate the salts near the surface of the soil.

In general, the salinity of the soil increases from Baghdad south to the Persian Gulf and severely limits productivity in the region south of Al Amarah. The salinity is reflected in the large lake in central Iraq, southwest of Baghdad, known as Bahr al Milh (Sea of Salt). There are two other major lakes in the country to the north of Bahr al Milh: Buhayrat ath Tharthar and Buhayrat al Habbaniyah.

Waves of Dust Invade Northern Iraq – July 6th, 2009

36.1N 44.0E

July 6th, 2009 Category: Dust Storms, Image of the day, Lakes

Dust storm over Iraq - July 4th, 2009

Dust storm over Iraq - July 4th, 2009

Iraq-Iran border

Iraq-Iran border

Egypt-Sudan border

Egypt-Sudan border

Thick dust waves swept the cities of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region since Friday, impairing visibility, causing health complications and hindering planes from taking off and landing at local airports.

Erbil City’s Emergency Hospital received 100 cases of suffocation due to the dust waves that invaded the area.

Director of Meteorological Service Department in Sulaimani said that this wave of dust came from the south of Iraq and will continue in Kurdistan Region until next Tuesday, reports PUKmedia. Baghdad had been experiencing a dust storm last week.

Here, the dust can be seen covering all of northern Iraq and spreading into two of the country’s neighbors, Iran and Syria. Turkey, to the north, is still clear, and Lake Van is completely visible. One close-up focuses on the Iraq-Iran border, where dust is encroaching on Iran’s Lake Urmia.

Dust storms were also affecting countries further south: in the full image, dust can be seen blowing over the Red Sea, northeast Sudan, southern Egypt, Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. The other close-up focuses on the Egypt-Sudan border, where dust can be seen blowing over the Red Sea into Saudi Arabia.

Dust Storm Over Iraq Covers Baghdad – July 1st, 2009

33.3N 44.3E

July 1st, 2009 Category: Dust Storms, Image of the day

Dust storm over Middle East - June 28th, 2009

Dust storm over Middle East - June 28th, 2009

Dust over Iraq

Dust over Iraq

A large dust storm reaches from Saudi Arabia to the Iraq-Iran border, covering much of Iraq including the capital, Baghdad.

The close-up focuses on an area in central Iraq. The Tigris (above) and Euphrates (below) Rivers, Lake Buhayrat ath Tharthar (center) and Lake Milh (bottom right) are partially visible. The city of Baghdad, east of the lakes, cannot be seen beneath the thick veil of dust.

The storm forced the closure of Baghdad’s airport due to poor visibility and thus caused a one-day postponement of Iraq’s historic oil development auction – the opening of bids entered by foreign oil companies (for the first time since the nationalization of the industry over 30 years ago) hoping to develop the country’s large oil reserves.

Dust Storm over Iraq

October 16th, 2008 Category: Dust Storms

Sandstorm over Iraq - October 16th, 2008

Sandstorm over Iraq - October 16th, 2008

Here, we can see a dust storm in progress over Iraq. The sands reach all the way across the country, from south of Mosul, to Baghdad and down into Saudi Arabia. The Euphrates River is clearly visible to the left of the storm, though Lake Tharthar and Lake Razzaza are partially obscured by dust particles. The storm over Baghdad is reported to be very heavy.

North of the dust storm, Mosul is obscured by clouds; according to Iraqi weather services, the city is currently receiving some rain. Lake Urmia in Iran is partially covered by clouds, while Lake Van in Turkey is clearly visible.

Massive Sand Storm over Iraq – Update

September 16th, 2008 Category: Dust Storms

Sand Storm over Iraq - Earth ViewIraq

Sand Storm over Iraq - Earth View

Composite Image of 2 ASAR passes

Composite Image of 2 ASAR passes

From the false-colored image on the left, generated by two Envisat/ASAR passes on the 12th and 15th of September, the zones that have experienced changes can be seen in red within the grey square.

The sandstorm is not clearly visible since the radar images are not sensitive enough to detect the dust particles; however, we can clearly see the agitated lake surfaces in the zones hit by the storm.

The red lake in the lower portion of the image is Lake Tharthar, one of the largest lakes in Iraq, located 120 kilometers north of Baghdad (which appears in the image as a white area near the lake) between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

In the top right part of the image we can see Lake Urmia, the largest lake in Iran (and the second largest salt lake in the world), near Turkey. From the false-colored image we can tell that between the 12th and the 15th of September there have been changes, probably due to sediments.