February 4, 2023


For computer aficionados

Gargantuan Saharan Dust Plume Blowing Across the Atlantic is Visible from Nearly a Million Miles Away in Space

GOES-16 Satellite Spies Giant Saharan Dust Plume

A dust plume stretching from the Sahara all the way across the Atlantic Ocean is witnessed in this image obtained by the GOES-16 environmental satellite on June 6, 2022. The plume was so prominent that it was also noticed by a satellite stationed just about a million miles away from Earth. For that impression, see underneath. (Credit score: RAMMB/CIRA)

Sizzling, dry winds blowing across the Sahara Desert have driven an enormous plume of dust more than 3,500 miles throughout the Atlantic Ocean.

As of June 6, 2022, the plume stretched from Africa to South The us and even reached Puerto Rico. All told, it lined a lot more than 2.2 million square miles of the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It can be envisioned to blow into the Gulf of Mexico by the weekend — and result in spectacular sunsets in Florida and other destinations.

Visible from Nearly a Million Miles Absent

The plume was so significant and distinct that it was witnessed by the DSCOVR spacecraft stationed 984,628 miles from Earth:

NASA’s DSCOVR spacecraft obtained this image of the Saharan dust plume stretching throughout the Atlantic Ocean on June 6, 2022. (Credit history: NASA)

On ordinary, the trade winds sweep an believed 180 million metric tons of Saharan dust across the Atlantic Ocean to different areas of the Americas and the Caribbean Basin each and every yr. So the phenomenon is not all that abnormal.

Scientists simply call it the Saharan Air Layer. The SAL is characterised by a mass of quite dry, exceedingly dusty air that sorts above the Sahara Desert throughout the late spring, summertime and early slide and often sweeps out into the Atlantic.

SAL activity generally ramps up in mid-June and peaks from late June to mid-August, with new outbreaks developing every single 3 to 5 days, according to Jason Dunion, a College of Miami hurricane researcher. During this peak period of time, SAL outbreaks generally attain as significantly west as Florida, Central The usa and even Texas. And they can protect areas of the Atlantic as large as the lessen 48 United States.

An animation of illustrations or photos obtained by NASA satellites exhibits the Saharan dust plume blowing throughout the Atlantic in between Might 30 and June 6, 2022. (Source: NASA Worldview)

In 2020, a late-June party was so huge that it was dubbed the “Godzilla” dust plume. It intruded into the southern United States, in which on June 27 it lifted the concentration of great particulates (PM 2.5) to a amount exceeding the EPA air excellent common in about 40 p.c of stations in the South.

Will the present plume go on to rival Godzilla? That remains to be noticed.

1 detail is sure: Saharan plumes blowing throughout the Atlantic suppresses hurricane exercise. The warm air layer tends to quell updrafts of moist air that are vital to storm development. In addition, by shading the ocean, the dust can support preserve sea surface temperatures down. Heat sea h2o fuels storms, so this tends to suppress them. And any storms that do take care of to form are prone to remaining ripped aside by the powerful winds involved with the Saharan Air Layer.