Is the climate crisis affecting sandstorms in the Sahara Desert?

Large dust clouds from Africa Sahara Deserts are moving across the Atlantic, forecasters say, and they could darken skies and worsen air quality in the Caribbean and southeastern United States.

Two large clouds were spotted from space by NOAA satellites on Thursday.

A small cloud is expected to reach Florida by Saturday and spread further over coastal areas of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama the next day. According to Accuweather.

A second, larger cloud could reach the Caribbean by the weekend, Extend to Florida by Tuesday.

Clouds are likely to create dramatic skies, and officials warned people with allergies and respiratory ailments that a surge in small-particle air pollution could make their health worse, with some symptoms of the flu. warns that it may resemble COVID-19.

The forecast comes as the United States continues to experience dramatic weather impacted by the climate crisis. Smoke from wildfires in Canada triggered Orange skies and low air quality from Chicago new york in the last few weeks.

Scientists and health professionals have been monitoring the effects of plumes for years.

Are sandstorms in the Sahara a new phenomenon?

No, sandstorms and dust storms occur every year when powerful hot winds blow through the loose soils of dry land. They can cause death and destruction in desert areas. The World Meteorological Organization has been sending sediment for almost 20 years. dust storm But it remains difficult to warn people in remote areas.

Although harmful to human health, dust clouds deliver nutrient-laden minerals from the Sahara Desert, the largest and hottest desert on earth, to marine life and plants in the Americas and the Caribbean.

In the summer of 2020, nearly 24 tons of wind blew from the Sahara Desert to the Americas, so the sandstorm was so huge that it was called “Godzilla.” It was so vast that astronauts tweeted pictures of dust clouds from the International Space Station.

Are they affected by the climate crisis?

yes. After “Godzilla” took off last summer, NASA used satellite data and computer modeling to study the plume.

The size of the dust cloud varies from year to year, even from decade to decade, but NASA scientists predict that the climate crisis and ocean heating will cause the plume to reach its smallest size in 20,000 years in the next 100 years. increase.

Sea surface temperature directly affects wind speed. As warming occurs in the northern Atlantic, trade winds weaken and are less likely to carry desert dust.

Weaker winds also mean that tropical rain bands are easier to move into desert areas, keeping sands moister and less likely to blow away.

Smaller dust clouds are part of a feedback loop that increases global warming. Particles in the air have the ability to reflect sunlight, so fewer suspended particles means more sunlight and heat reach the seawater, further increasing its temperature. Is the climate crisis affecting sandstorms in the Sahara Desert?

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