Friday 3 April, 2020

Saharan Dust eases up for now, says Met Office

Photo via the T&T Met Office.

Photo via the T&T Met Office.

The public should get some relief from Saharan dust over the next few days, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service. 

The Met Office said in an update that dust levels would be in lower concentrations and should last for the next two weeks.

"Saharan dust update (21st March): The atmosphere over the Atlantic remains generally dry, but with lower concentrations of Saharan dust.

"The current atmospheric setup is not conducive for mass transport of dust over the Atlantic and this is not expected to change soon. The odd "event" may still occur, but no major Saharan dust influxes are expected for at least the next two weeks.."


What is Saharan Dust?

Saharan dust is composed of sand and other mineral particles that are swept up in air currents and pushed over the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and other nearby regions.

As the dust-laden air moves, it creates a temperature inversion which in turn tends to prevent cloud -- and eventually -- storm formation.

It means fewer storms and even hurricanes are less likely to strike when the dust is present.

Normally, hundreds of millions of tons of dust are picked up from the deserts of Africa and blown across the Atlantic Ocean each year.

That dust helps build beaches in the Caribbean and fertilizes soils in the Amazon. It affects air quality in North and South America.

It likely plays a role in the suppression of hurricanes and the decline of coral reefs as well. 

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