A considerable amount of dust fell over the Atlantic Ocean, some of the ventilated grains headed northeast.
Every year, more than 180 million tons of dust are released from North Africa, which comes out of the Sahara desert due to strong seasonal winds. Perhaps the most familiar are the huge, showy tombs that cross the tropical Atlantic Ocean into America. But the dust also goes elsewhere. Relocates to other parts of Africa or slides north to Europe.
A dramatic display of airborne dust particles (above) was observed in 2021. On February 18, on the NOAA-20 spacecraft by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometers Collection (VIIRS). The dust seems to be spreading, but it is particularly troubling because of Bodele’s depression in northeastern Chad.
The image below, also taken on February 18, shows the scale of the column relative to the continents bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It is acquired NASAEarth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on NOAA DSCOVR satellite.
As most of the slab appears west of Africa, winds are blowing toward Europe, with a speck of dust. According to research meteorologist Marshall Schaefer, strong, sustained winds from the south blow Saharan dust to Europe at least several times a year.
The Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service forecasts that most of the dust reaching Europe this weekend will probably be concentrated in Spain and France, but some could be transported to Norway. Some parts of Spain may see “mud rain” as the approaching dust column is combined with the weather front.
In mid-February, a dust storm in southern Եվրոպ Central Europe occurred after a violent event earlier this month. The Saharan dust covered the Iberian Peninsula և Alpine snow ձ In France the sky turned orange.
Dust can worsen air quality և speed up snow cover. But it also plays a big role in the Earth’s biological systems, absorbing, reflecting solar energy, fertilizing ocean ecosystems with iron, and other minerals necessary for plant և phytoplankton growth.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Laurent Dauphin using VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS / Worldview և Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.