Share

Saharan Dust Falls Across Northern Europe

By Sean Breslin
Published: March 31, 2014

Photo via Sat24.com

Saharan dust is dragged up from Africa and into northern Europe in this satellite image posted to Sat24.com.

When soggy, green Northern Ireland gets coated by red, Saharan dust, the locals get slightly perturbed.

The dust is being pumped northward into the United Kingdom as winds aloft flow from the south to southeast instead of the normal west-to-east direction, says weather.com senior meteorologist Jon Erdman. An expansive blocking area of high pressure is stretching from eastern Europe to southern Greenland, and that's working in tandem with a strong southward dip in the jet stream centered just west of the Iberian Peninsula.

As a result, northern Europe has turned hazy with Saharan dust filling the air in some areas, according to a BBC report.

(PHOTOS: NASA Captures Weather Disasters From Space)

The dust lingers in the air until something can knock it down – rain, usually. When rain arrives, it mixes with the dust particles and falls as "dirty rain," covering cars and angering residents, writes 4News.com.

Even U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron was affected when his car was covered by a dusty residue, according to a Metro report.

It could be several days before rain knocks the dust out of the air. The dust could reach Iceland before the pattern changes.

"This upper-level pattern may persist through mid-week before the flow over Africa becomes more westerly," Erdman said.

Saharan dust reaching another continent isn't as strange as it may seem. The red dust sometimes makes an appearance in the United States.

Saharan dust is commonly transported westward across the tropical Atlantic Ocean in the summer months during hurricane season, Erdman said. This produces hazy sunrises and sunsets in the Caribbean Sea and even, occasionally, into parts of Florida.

MORE: Incredible Views of Dust Over the Atlantic Ocean

NASA

Dust over the Atlantic Ocean on July 30, 2013.


Featured Blogs

Arctic Sea Ice May Reach Second-Lowest Extent on Record This Month

By Dr. Jeff Masters
September 3, 2015

A burst of late-season loss over the last several weeks has put the Arctic Ocean’s ice cover within reach of the lowest extent observed in any year except 2012. In the tropics, a new system moving off Africa could become a depression over the next five days, and Tropical Storm Fred is barely hanging on to life, while Hurricanes Jimena and Ignacio and Typhoon Kilo continue to prowl the Pacific.

UPDATE: Crazy Summer in Hawaii: Record Rainfall, Record Heat, and Snow!

By Christopher C. Burt
August 26, 2015

Although much media attention weather-wise (at least recently) for Hawaii has been about tropical storms an even more interesting story has been the record wet August in Honolulu and Lihue and the hottest summer and hottest single month (August) on record for many Hawaiian cities. Despite a record warm July, accumulating snow managed to dust the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Here are some details about the above events.

Not a tropical cyclone?

By Stu Ostro
August 15, 2015

PWS Service Interruption Update

By Shaun Tanner
June 16, 2015

The development team here at Weather Underground has been hard at work producing a new homepage! Please take a look at the sneak peek and tell us what you think!

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.