Shamal Wind Dust Storm over the Persian Gulf

See the movement of the giant dust storm in this animation

Shamal Dust Storm

In this animation of images taken February 18th, 2017 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites you can see a dust storm, caused by a Shamal, a northwesterly wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf states, moving over the area (Google Maps).

The images were taken roughly three hours apart.

Animation of Shamal Wind Dust Storm over the Persian Gulf

Animation of two MODIS images taken roughly three hours apart

Take a look here for the two images used in the animation. Click to enlarge.

Terra MODIS image of Shamal Wind Dust Storm over the Persian Gulf

Terra image

Aqua MODIS image of Shamal Wind Dust Storm over the Persian Gulf

Aqua image

Health and economic effects

Sand or dust storms like this one are a regular occurrence in the region. They vary in size and can last several days. Bigger ones can affect regular life in the area, covering everything with sand and fine dust and causing health issues, mainly respiratory distress. With repeated exposure the fine dust inhaled by people can lead to asthma and silicosis, the latter linked to developing lung cancer.

Sand storms can  have a significant economic impact, removing soil from arid areas, reducing the output of agriculture. They also have an impact on the transportation sector, reducing visibility for any kind of transportation, at times completely shutting it down.

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