A dust storm shrouded Iraq and Kuwait in late May 2012. On May 22, the Kuwait News Agency reported that thick dust had suspended operations in two ports, and business news site Zawya reported that dust storm activity forced the closure of the Baghdad airport.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on May 24, 2012, as dust extended from Syria and northern Iraq southward to Kuwait.
Frequent dust storms in the Middle East owe their existence not only to the vast sand seas of the Arabian Peninsula, but also to the fine sediments of the Tigris and Euphrates Riverbeds and impermanent rivers and salt lakes in the Syria-Iraq region.
Dust and clouds mingled over Utah in late February 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of a dust storm on February 23.
The dust arises from the Great Salt Lake Desert, with sediments that can provide ample material for dust storms. Cloudbanks surround the dust, especially in the south and east. The clouds might result from the same weather pattern that brought dust-stirring high winds.
The low-in-the-sky winter sun casts extraordinarily long shadows in this satellite image of Russia’s Kizimen Volcano. A light-colored plume, likely steam-rich, rises above Kizimen’s summit, while a growing lava flow (mostly hidden by gases) descends the eastern flank. Emissions of ash, lava, and volcanic gases have been nearly continuous since the eruption started in November 2010.
This false-color image was acquired on January 11, 2012, by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer aboard the Terra satellite. Snow covers the landscape at high altitudes, and the evergreen forests to the north of the volcano are dark red-brown. The light brown hills nearby are covered with leafless deciduous trees poking above the snow.
Fires in southwestern Australia sent a massive smoke plume over the Indian Ocean on February 13, 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day.
In this natural-color image, red dots show areas where MODIS detected unusually high surface temperatures associated with actively burning fires. The gray-beige smoke blows in a giant clockwise arc, over the Indian Ocean, and back toward the coast of Western Australia.
On February 14, 2012, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) of Western Australia reported that the bushfires that were burning around Windy Harbour the day before had been contained. Still, FESA warned residents to keep abreast of new developments as conditions could change quickly.
A record-breaking snowstorm struck Colorado in early February 2012, closing an interstate highway, grounding flights, and dropping more than a foot of snow on the Denver area. After moving out of northeastern Colorado, the storm left heavy snow across Nebraska.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on February 5, after skies had largely cleared over the region. Snow and mountain peaks create a mottled appearance in western Colorado. Elsewhere, the snow cover forms a wide, uneven track over Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska.
This snowfall did not break all-time records in Colorado, but it did break records for the month of February. The storm deposited 15.9 inches (40.4 centimeters) in Denver and 22.7 inches (57.7 centimeters) in Boulder. The National Weather Service also reported up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow west of Omaha, Nebraska.