saharan dust
In order for the dust to get from up in the sky down to the ground, you need something to wash it out of the sky - rain. This dust then moves across the Atlantic Ocean and affects the Caribbean, parts of Central American, and the Southern United States. Over the last week however we've had an unusually large area of dust travelling right across the Atlantic affecting Central and North America. Everything you need to know about the forecast, and making the most of the weather. In general, Saharan dust plumes actually happen all the time — the Sahara Desert has an endless supply of dust for winds to carry across the Atlantic Ocean. Saharan dust is a mixture of sand and dust from the Sahara, the vast desert area that covers most of North Africa. Thunderstorms Across Central Africa. “We know, for example, that in many parts of the world that are afflicted with sand and dust storm events, such as the Middle East, we see more asthma and asthma attacks.” He advises that people with respiratory conditions stay indoors until the plume passes. Large amounts of dust particles from the African desert are swept up into the dry air by strong winds near the ground, as well as thunder storms. “But for others who have chronic inflammatory lung conditions, such as asthma or emphysema, this extra burden of inflammation can tip them over into severe breathing trouble,” says W. Graham Carlos of the Indiana University School of Medicine and Eskenazi Health. One 2016 study published in Nature, for instance, suggested changing wind patterns may decrease the transport of dust out of Africa. When strong, high winds are present, they can carry the floating dust straight to the coast. Saharan dust plumes can have a strong, if temporary, effect on local air quality. © 2020 BBC. What happens next often depends on local weather conditions, Prospero said. More than half of the dust deposited in the oceans originates in North Africa. Other experts have suggested that dust plumes may help fertilize the ocean with iron, feeding microorganisms in the water. Dust particles are also less effective than other kinds of aerosols at helping clouds to form in the atmosphere, he added. We can protect the economy from pandemics. One study, published last November in the journal JGR: Atmospheres, suggests more dust has been transported out of the Sahara in the last 100 years than in centuries past. The National Hurricane Center's (NHC) Tropical Analysis and … Saharan dust: Why your car is covered in red dirt. Dust that makes it into the upper levels of the atmosphere can then get transported across the Atlantic Ocean and affect the Eastern Caribbean. That makes it worth asking how these events might change in a warming world, if at all. “So it was quite shocking.”. At the same time, a mile above the desert a 2-mile-thick mass of hot, dry air called the Saharan Air Layer, or SAL, has formed. It’s normal for Saharan dust to blow into the Americas—in fact, the phosphorus it carries is a reliable fertilizer of the Amazon rainforest. Because it’s a desert, the Sahara is loaded with particulate matter, from coarse sand down to the tiniest of dirt specks, none of which is very well anchored to the ground. The dust cloud is also affecting parts of southern Florida, including the city of Miami. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, If Past Is a Guide, Arctic Could Be Verging on Permafrost Collapse, Curtain Falls on History's Biggest Arctic Expedition, Climate Change May Cause More Storms to Rapidly Intensify as Delta Did, Colorado Contends with Record-Setting Wildfires, Climate Portion of Final Trump-Biden Debate Revolved Around Ending Oil, Wind 'Fumes', U.S. Cities' Actions Fall Short of Lofty Climate Goals. The emission and dispersion of dust are not limited to the two above causes, by can be affected by several meteorological phenomena: El Niño, the North Atlantic Oscillation, rainfall in the Sahel, the Sahara Heat Low, and the Intertropical Convergence Zone. These plumes of Saharan dust, termed Saharan Air Layer (SAL) by meteorologists, are whipped up by strong wind storms crossing the Sahara desert. If the winds in the upper part of the atmosphere are blowing north, the dust can be carried as far as the UK. It’s the worst Saharan dust event the island has seen in 15, maybe 20 years, says Olga Mayol-Bracero, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Puerto Rico. Dust contains a variety of minerals and nutrients, such as iron and phosphorus. Many of these developing coronavirus vaccines are using new technologies. GEOS-5, University of Athens SKIRON On the other hand, microorganisms in the ocean also help draw CO2 out of the atmosphere, a boon in the fight against climate change. But otherwise, dust plumes are thought to prevent new hurricanes from forming in the ocean as they move over the water. Typically running from April through November, strong thunderstorms begin to develop across interior Central Africa and progress westward. Health. The dust clouds will stop rolling across the Atlantic. In certain weather situations, Saharan dust can also affect air pollution and pollution levels. Or they might have a bigger influence on ocean ecosystems. Dust clouds that make it as far as the Americas will eventually run into other weather systems that help break them apart. So for now, the future of Saharan dust plumes remains unclear. The measurement is called aerosol optical thickness. The Harmattan wind accelerates when it blows across the mountain massifs of Northwest Africa. Research has also linked Saharan dust plumes to various other natural climate variables, such as El Niño events. The pandemic is still raging, the Arctic is burning up, and microplastics are polluting every corner of the Earth, but do try to take a deep breath. Still more could be on the way as the summer goes on. It carries upwards of 60 million tonnes of dust annually over the ocean and the Americas. If its speed is high enough and it blows over dust source regions, it lifts the dust and disperses it. (CNN)After a quick and active start to hurricane season, it looks like any significant tropical development is unlikely over the next week. That can cause sea surface temperatures to temporarily cool, making conditions less favorable for storms. In the winter, it typically kicks dust plumes down to South America. “When you have the Saharan Air Layer moving across, it's kind of like that. The thickness of dust particles in the atmosphere is the highest observed in 25 years of satellite measurements. Satellites measure aerosols by how much light can pass through them. During this period, a ridge of high pressure stays over the central Sahara Desert, and the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) remains over the Gulf of Guinea. A satellite captures a dust plume leaving Africa on June 19. “The setup between those two—the hot to the north and the cool, moist to the south—sets up a wind circulation that can become very strong, and it can actually scour the surface of the desert,” says Steven Miller, deputy director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University, which is monitoring the plumes. Dr. Seema Yasmin talks to three Covid-19 vaccine researchers who are developing three different types of vaccines. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. The Sahara Desert is the major source of mineral dust, which subsequently spreads across the Mediterranean (where it is the origin of rain dust) and Caribbean seas into northern South America, Central America, and eastern North America, and Europe. Dry skin and cracked lips are also typical symptoms of dense Saharan dust. En route to the continental US, the plume struck Puerto Rico on Saturday, cutting visibility down to 3 miles. For a hurricane to form, it needs little to no wind shear and a very moist atmosphere. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at As it rises, it carries dust from the surface along with it. Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), Tropical Storm Epsilon Remains A Large Storm In The North Atlantic, Tropical Storm Zeta Forms, Forecast To Become A Hurricane, Hurricane Epsilon Moves Further Into The North Atlantic, An Unprecedented Saharan Dust Outbreak For T&T, Tropical Update: 4 Tropical Waves, ITCZ To Move Across T&T Over Next Week, UPDATE – Seventh "New" Mud Volcano Discovered In Los Iros, Southern Trinidad. Even worse for hurricanes, they need a calm environment in order to start spinning, but the SAL is barrelling in with 50-mile-per-hour winds. Her air-analyzing instruments were working in real time, detecting the component elements of the desert dust. In general, Saharan dust plumes actually happen all the time — the Sahara Desert has an endless supply of dust for winds to carry across the Atlantic Ocean. occurs between the end of November and the middle of March. Still other studies have suggested that Saharan dust events may decrease in the future as a result of entirely different factors.


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