Dust Storm over Afghanistan and Pakistan
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Dust Storm over Afghanistan and Pakistan

August 21, 2003
Across the dark brown ridges and rock formations of southern Afghanistan (top), Iran (left), and Pakistan (bottom right), streamers of pale dust swirl over the arid terrain in this true-color image acquired on August 20, 2003, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite. According to people living in southwestern Afghanistan, this has been the dustiest year in living memory, as wave after wave of dust storms has swept over the region this summer. Many of these dust storms originated in the dry salt flats where there was once a lush oasis of lakes and wetlands straddling the border between Afghanistan and Iran.

In addition to producing severe dust storms—which not only adversely impact air quality but also inhibit rainfall in the region—the destruction of the Hamoun wetlands also presents significant risk to the region’s biodiversity. In December 2002, the Iranian government called upon Afghanistan to help restore the Sistan ba

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