NASA astronaut Doug Hurley tweeted last Sunday: "We flew over this Saharan dust plume today in the west central Atlantic". It's an annual phenomenon that makes for hazy skies and attractive sunsets.
Air quality fell to "hazardous" levels and weather forecasters for the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique warned the area was suffering its worst haze in at least a decade. "The smaller it is the deeper it can get into the airways and the more problems it can cause so we see a lot of folks wearing masks now, appropriately".
The annual natural occurrence is officially called the "Saharan Air Layer". It can occupy a roughly two-mile thick layer in the atmosphere, the agency said.
Starting in June and lasting until mid-August of every year, this process takes place every three to five days.
Texas, which was one of the first states to ease lockdown at the end of April, reached record COVID-19 hospitalizations for the 13th day in a row Thursday, with almost 4,400 patients. "We often see in our allergic folks shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, wheezing".
He thinks the Saharan dust could cause a redder sunrise and sunset on Saturday. In addition to potentially causing problems for those with asthma and other respiratory issues, the dust could also be bad news for a country now battling the coronavirus pandemic, which is known to cause potentially deadly respiratory distress.
More dust from Africa was moving across the Atlantic on Thursday and approaching the Caribbean
More dust from Africa was moving across the Atlantic on Thursday and approaching the Caribbean. "This particular one is impressive in its size and the amount of dry, dusty air it contains", Wilkinson said.
Just in time for a little break from hurricane season!
"Right now our tropical activity is basically zero across the Atlantic and that's actually because of the dust".
Models are forecasting another dust cloud entering the Gulf of Mexico next week. Dust moving across the Atlantic inhibits tropical development as the air is very dry in the atmosphere.
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.