Published On: Thu, Jun 20th, 2019

Dust from the Sahara desert spreads across the Atlantic into the Yucatan Peninsula

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This weekend, a massive dust cloud from Africa’s Sahara Desert will sweep across the Atlantic and cause hazy skies across northern Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula.

A few days ago satellites began to detect thick plumes of Saharan dust passing over Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau before moving out over the Atlantic Ocean. For the next ten days, the skies over West Africa and across the tropical Atlantic were stained a distinctive shade of yellow as winds pushed pulse after pulse of Saharan dust to the west.

Every year, over a hundred million tons of dust get picked up from the deserts of Africa and blow across the Atlantic Ocean, affecting air quality in North and South America. Some of it reaches as far as the Amazon River Basin, where the minerals in the dust replenish nutrients in rainforest soils, which are continually depleted by tropical rains.

The dust research suggests that the dust plays a role in the suppression of hurricanes and the decline of coral reefs as well.

“Meteorology Yucatán” shared on Twitter that this phenomenon would cause “reddish / orange dawns and sunsets on the horizon. true spectacles of color in the sky ”

The map above shows dust crossing the Atlantic as represented by the GEOS-5 satellite. A simulation from GEOS-5 shows plumes of dust from as far away as Iraq and Saudi Arabia blowing across North Africa in mid-June. However, much of the dust that crossed the Atlantic Ocean appeared to be coming from the Bodélé Depression, a dried lake bed in northeastern Chad. Image via NASA Earth Observatory.

The Riviera Maya Times Newsroom



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