The Middle East

Weather systems moving across the shadow's path through Iran and Afghanistan must first cross a protective barrier of mountains which guard the western and northern approaches. These peaks, reaching over 4000 meters high, wring much of the moisture from the air and bring a sunny, semi-arid climate to the interior of these countries. Figure 8 shows that the mean cloud cover for the month ranges between 20 and 40 percent, with lower values found toward the east in Afghanistan. Table 16 mimics this pattern, showing that nearly two mornings out of three are sunny over Iran, but nearly all October mornings are sunny in Afghanistan. This thirsty region is one of the sunniest in the world at this time of year.

Eclipse morning will require a very cloud free sky in the direction of the Sun since the low altitude of the solar disk will aggravate the effects of even a small amount of cloud. The area is very gritty, since October is a windy month, with persistent northwesterlies raising occasional clouds of dust and sand, especially when reinforced by passing cold fronts. Luckily, dust tends to settle overnight when winds decrease and the air stabilizes so the early morning eclipse should occur at the cleanest time of the day.

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