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No No, its not a political blame et al. Its a widespread duststorms which have enveloped our sky in North India which is uprooted from Pakistan claims MODIS. Its not the first time with us to encounter such duststorm here, a decade ago some death have been reported in North India due to this duststorm. The widespread duststorms have been observed by MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensor onboard EOS – Terra polar orbiting satellite on June 9, 2003 and June 10, 2005 respectively.

Both the duststorms, observed in the visible imagery, have their origins in Pakistan. Under the influence of strong winds and consequent turbulence, huge amount of dust is seen to be raised over the area upto mid- troposphere (about 6 Km) and spread in the northwestern parts of Indo-Gangetic plains.

On 9th June 2003, the dust was confined to the major parts of Punjab, Haryana and North Rajasthan due to the presence of an anticyclone over South Pakistan and adjoining north Arabian sea at 00 UTC in the mid –troposphere, which turned the orientation of dust flow from north to south. However, thin layers of dust could also be seen over some parts of Uttar Pradesh under the influence of prevailing winds in lower and mid – troposphere. Extremely bright plumes of dust having smooth texture in visible imagery indicates that western parts of Punjab and north Rajasthan has thick layer of dust up to midtroposphere.

A shallow layer of dust is seen to cover western Himalayas, which may perhaps have great bearing on the behaviour of glaciers in the long run. The dust layers deposited on the glaciers may reduce their albedo and enhance the process of melting due to increased rate of absorption, thereby reducing the life of the glacier. A widespread duststorm is also seen to originate from Pakistan at a little lower latitude as compared to previous one in the MODIS picture of EOS – Terra satellite on June 10, 2005. A thick dust layer is seen to be transported to north Rajasthan, Haryana, east Rajasthan, southwest Uttar Pradesh and adjoining northwest Madhya Pradesh.

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