As the saying goes, context is everything.
The last few posts were on the ground - quite literally - reviewing maps and cars. Now it's time to look up in the air. What follows is available data for sunrise, sunset, and annual weather patterns for Baghdad, Iraq for October and December 2003.
Julian Date Converter
The Julian date for CE 2003 October 09 00:00:00.0 UTCPA: Announcements for October 7, 2003
The Julian date for CE 2003 December 14 00:00:00.0 UT
*Curfew changed from 11:00 pm - 4:00 am to a new time of midnight - 4:00 am.
Islamic Calendar 1423-24 hj. (2003 AD) is a Lunar Calendar, each month starting with the first sighting of the crescent Moon.
Islamic Holidays - no holidays or festivals appear to coincide with events.
Phases of the Moon
A Waxing Crescent + increasing (ref)Sun and Moon Data
B First Quarter
C Waxing Gibbous
E Waning Gibbous - decreasing
F Third Quarter
G Waning Crescent
H New Moon
Sunrise and Sunset for Baghdad, Iraq
Data for the month of October in 2003
Complete Sun and Moon Data For Baghdad, Iraq
33° 20' 19" N 044° 23' 38" E, UTC/GMT Universal Time + 3h
Thursday 9 October 2003
Begin civil twilight
End civil twilight
17:01 on preceding day
05:53 on following day
Full Moon on 10 October 2003 at 10:28 AM
Sunday 14 December 2003
Begin civil twilight
End civil twilight
20:05 on preceding day
11:45 on following day
Last quarter Moon on 16 December 2003 at 20:43 PM
Average Weather for Baghdad, Iraq
October Average: 76.8 °F 24.9 °C
December Average: 52.0 °F 11.1 °C
October Average: 0.1 inch 2.6 mm
December Average: 1 inch 26.3 mm
One of my favorite weather sites, Weather Underground (wunderground.com), has limited historical information for Iraq:
Weather Underground Baghdad, Iraq October 9: 65 °FTry searching the same dates but in more recent years as they provide a wide range of data including dust and haze. It'll give a general sense of what the weather was like. They also have information for other cities in Iraq including Baiji just north of Tikrit.
Weather Underground Baghdad, Iraq December 14: 65 °F
Search Middle East images using Julian dates.
On December 13-14, 2003, there was a dust storm to the East over Iran and Southern Asia. (satellite image).
The Nashi wind (also N'aschi) responsible for the dust storm also affected Dubai in the United Arab Emirates during the same time frame (ref). The winter Nashi wind carries dust storms through the straits and along the coast of Iran. Dust storms can interfere with electronics and distort navigational systems. Also see Shamal Wind below.
Satellite Images from Tafsir Co. Consultant Engineers
Shamal Wind from Wikipedia
Sandblasted troops dig in
By Elliot Blair Smith, USA Today, March 13, 2003
Sun, Moon and Weather data must seem like truly petty information. But, the data provides some context that's easy to overlook.
First: there was a full moon on October 10, 2003. As a result, 'lighting conditions' were pretty much as optimal as they could be for conducting a night time search for Kirk von Ackermann. In addition, just two days prior, curfew hours were changed, adding an extra hour to be outdoors after sunset.
Second: east of Iraq, there was a dust storm over Southern Asia December 13-14. Did the storm have any impact on Iraq? Was there more dust than usual in the air? If yes, how did the dust on the vehicle of Ryan Manelick's assailant(s) compare to other cars at the time? More, less, the same?
In an email to Ryan Manelick's father, Greg, John Dawkins described the assailant(s) as driving a 'nice white Land Cruiser.'
Did 'nice' actually refer to 'clean' and did this mean the assailant(s) vehicle was relatively dust free? And if it was dust-free, why? What does a clean vehicle at the moment of attack say about where the vehicle was kept, how far it was driven to the point of attack, and what does it say about the person(s) who were driving it?
Things to think about.