Monster Saharan Dust Plume Heading for Europe

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Saharan Dust February 2021 Annotated

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February 18, 2021. (Click image for high-resolution view.)

A significant dust plume wandered over the Atlantic Ocean, with a few of the air-borne grains guiding towards the northeast.

Each year more than 180 million lots of dust blow out from North Africa, lofted out of the Sahara Desert by strong seasonal winds. Perhaps most familiar are the substantial, snazzy plumes that advance throughout the tropical Atlantic Ocean towards the Americas. But the dust goes somewhere else, too—kicking back down in other parts of Africa or wandering north towards Europe.

A remarkable display screen of air-borne dust particles (above) was observed on February 18, 2021, by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 spacecraft. The dust appears extensive, however especially stimulated over the Bodélé Depression in northeastern Chad.

The image listed below, likewise gotten on February 18, reveals the scale of the plume in relation to continents surrounding the Atlantic Ocean. It was gotten by the NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (IMPRESSIVE) on NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite.

Saharan Dust Earth February 2021 Annotated

February 18, 2021. (Click image for high-resolution view.)

While much of the plume appears west of Africa, a tendril of dust can be seen riding the winds towards Europe. According to a story by research study meteorologist Marshall Shepherd, strong and relentless winds southern drive Saharan dust towards Europe a minimum of a couple of times a year.

Forecasts from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service showed that the majority of the dust reaching Europe this weekend will likely be focused over Spain and France, however some might bring as far north as Norway. Parts of Spain may see “mud rain,” as the approaching dust plume integrates with a weather condition front.

The mid-February dust storm follows an extreme occasion previously in the month over southern and main Europe. Saharan dust from that storm covered the snow on the Pyrenees and Alps and turned skies orange in France.

Dust can deteriorate air quality and speed up the melting of snow cover. But it likewise plays a significant function in Earth’s environment and biological systems, taking in and showing solar power and fertilizing ocean environments with iron and other minerals that plants and phytoplankton require to grow.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, utilizing VIIRS information from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.



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