Saharan dust to bring fewer tropical storms, beautiful sunsets

Saharan dust to bring fewer tropical storms, beautiful sunsetsAn image from June 21shows the cloud of dust associated with the Saharan Air Layer traveling into the Caribbean Sea toward the Gulf of Mexico.

AUSTIN, Texas — A cloud of dust blowing through the Gulf of Mexico may not sound like an encouraging forecast, but it might be just what we need to keep tropical storms at bay and enjoy some gorgeous sunsets.

During the summer months, a large plume of dust can appear in the atmosphere over the Sahara Desert in northern Africa, kicked up by strong winds on the earth’s surface. This mass of dust combines with warm, dry air to form the Saharan Air Layer.

Riding trade winds westward from Africa to North America, the dust drifts across the Atlantic Ocean, reaching as far west as the Gulf. This week, conditions lined up perfectly for a cloud of dust to be swept out with the Saharan Air Layer.

“There’s a lot of dust with this one,” said University of Texas meteorology lecturer Troy Kimmel. “A lot of it is suspended at mid- and high levels of the atmosphere.”

Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict that the dust cloud reached the eastern edge of the Caribbean over the weekend, potentially making its way to the Texas Gulf Coast this week.

Aaron Treadway, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said “impacts on air quality and tropical systems” are the two biggest things that will come from the presence of Saharan dust.

“For us and a lot of the other southern U.S. states where this dust is supposed to end up, it’s going to impact the air quality for a couple of days,” Treadway said.

However, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality forecasts that “the intensity and duration of the dust is not expected to be enough to raise the daily (particulate matter in the atmosphere) beyond the 'Good' range throughout the impacted regions.”

Although some people may be more sensitive to the dust than others, Kimmel thinks that there may be a silver lining because of the timing of the cloud’s arrival: “The good news with that is we’re all wearing masks.”

“Tropical storms need a lot of moist air and relatively calm upper level winds to form,” Treadway said. “The lack of moisture and increased winds are not conducive for tropical storm development.”

Another benefit of dust from the Sahara Desert: more vivid sunsets and sunrises. As the sun passes the curve of the earth, its rays shine through a thicker layer of atmosphere.

Dust and water particles in the atmosphere are responsible for scattering sunlight, creating the rich colors of sunsets and sunrises. With the added dust in the atmosphere, a greater number of particles can refract sunlight into a beautiful range of purples, pinks, oranges and yellows.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/22/saharan-dust-heads-u-s-bringing-sunsets-and-fewer-tropical-storms/3235299001/

News Related

ORTHER NEWS

Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »