Saharan dust plume heads to United States skies this weekend

Saharan dust could amp up sunrises and sunsets across Alabama for the next few days

National Weather Service experts in the U.S. have released forecast details that indicate the storm is moving towards the Gulf of Mexico between now and Tuesday of next week.

The atmospheric patterns appear to indicate this phenomenon will not affect the Upstate, according to Wilkinson. It can occupy a roughly two-mile thick layer in the atmosphere. It is blown west towards the Atlantic Ocean.

These masses of dry, dusty air blowing in from the Sahara Desert are not uncommon during the summer months, but one of this magnitude and concentration hasn't been seen in nearly 15 years. In fact, this time every year a layer of dust from Africa moves across the Atlantic.

We suspect that the size and concentration of this year's dust cloud is a result of climate change and should serve as a reminder to mankind that we can not allow our focus on combating the novel coronavirus pandemic to distract us from the role we must play in mitigating the effects of global warming.

"Sinus sufferers hate this dust and I don't blame them", KPRC meteorologist Frank Billingsley said. "It now spans about 3,500 miles across the Atlantic from the west coast of Africa to Central America and contains less than half the moisture of the normal tropical atmosphere".

At the same time, the Saharan Air Layer will have a colorful effect on the horizon.

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'It's a really dry layer of air that contains these very fine dust particulates.

On satellite imagery, dust plumes are typically hard to spot.

Indeed, Environmental Health News has reported that scientists in the medical community have found a respirable component in Saharan dust that has led them to link it with asthma, overall mortality, cardiovascular disease, and a range of infectious diseases.

While the cloud typically retains higher altitudes and will bring more stunning sunsets to Florida, the sheer size of this occurrence could also be aggravating to people with respiratory issues.

One good thing about these dust clouds is that their extremely dry conditions help to inhibit the development of cyclones and tropical storms, with the potential to weaken the intensity of storms that do manage to form. Gerson Petit is a senior English/Visual Studies double major at Bob Jones University.

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