MODIS true color image of Central Asia on the 9th of April 2003.
Snow in central Asia highlights the roads running to Omsk, Russia, which is about 100 kilometers north of eastern Kazakhstan's border. Omsk shows up as a gray spot against the white, snow covered plains, perched on the banks of the Irtysh River. The higher resolutions of this true-color Aqua MODIS image show the Irtysh clogged with ice and snow to the north of Omsk in the Siberian Plains, and as a pale white line winding through the middle of the city on its way south to Kazakhstan.
Right along the border, an interesting pattern of right angles becomes visible in the higher resolutions. These angles indicate extensive tracts of farm and pasture land, which are most often rectangular or square in shape. Above the snow line, the plots are outlined in dark brown, while south of the snow line, they are outlined in white. As the snow fades from the land, the pattern becomes more and more clear; finally, after the snow has faded from the land completely, the plots form a quilt-like pattern of brown on brown.
In the southeastern portion of the image, a number of fires have been outlined in red. Most of them are in Kazakhstan, though a couple appear on the Russian side of the border. A number of the fires in Kazakhstan follow along the Irtysh, indicating that the fires are likely located on agricultural land around the river. This image was acquired on April 9, 2003.
Image and text courtesy of NASA's MODIS Land Rapid Response Team.