Tuesday 14 July, 2020

Saharan Dust on the rise in the Caribbean this week

An increase in Saharan Dust haze is expected this week into early next week.

The Barbados Meteorological Office (Met Office) states that 'varying concentrations of Saharan dust haze is expected to affect the region, today Thursday through to Sunday.' 

Analysis has indicated an increase in concentrations from Wednesday morning (May 27).

What is Saharan Dust?

Saharan Dust is a mixture of sand and dust from the Sahara, the vast desert area that covers most of North Africa, according to the UK Met Office.

How does the Saharan Dust travel?

In one word - wind!

As in other parts of the world, the wind can blow strongly over deserts - whipping up dust and sand high into the sky. If the winds in the upper part of the atmosphere are blowing West, the dust can be carried across to the Caribbean island chain, just as if they blow North, the dust could be could travel as far as the United Kingdom.

The UK Met Office says that once it is lifted from the ground by strong winds, clouds of dust can reach very high altitudes and be transported worldwide, covering thousands of miles.

How far away from the Caribbean is the Sahara?

The distance between Barbados, the most Eastern of the Caribbean islands, and North Sahara is 8,943 km or some 5,557 miles.

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