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Saharan Dust : what is it exactly ?

Posted by Mariel Oviedo on June 23, 2020

Saharan dust is a mixture of sand, dust, and minerals from the vast Sahara desert that covers most of North Africa. Every year around this time, hundreds of millions of tons of dust are picked up there by strong winds, move over the Cape Verde Islands, and are blown across the Atlantic Ocean carried by the warm Harmattan winds. This year, the dust is the most dense in half a century, according to several meteorologists. The thick smog makes for very hazy yellow-brown skies and causes sharply reduced visibility.

As all things, it comes with good and bad consequences.  The dust helps build beaches in the Caribbean and fertilizes soils in the Amazon due to high levels of phosphorus, iron oxide minerals, potassium and calcium . Also, the layer causes conditions that are unfavorable for cloud formation, and this prevent hurricane development.

But it also affects air quality in North and South America, and people with astma our other allergies should stay inside . Outdoor exercise is to be avoided.

Stay safe and healthy !

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