Saharan Dust continuing to mover across Europe ahead of an Atlantic front & changes in wind direction later in the week in the #CopernicusAtmosphere aerosol optical depth forecast initialized on 8 April at 00 UTC
Saharan Dust continuing to mover across Europe ahead of an Atlantic front & changes in wind direction later in the week in the #CopernicusAtmosphere aerosol optical depth forecast initialized on 8 April at 00 UTC

Sahara Dust Storm Sweeps Europe: PM10 Levels Skyrocket, Health Alerts Issued

April 9, 2024
1 min read

An “exceptional” amount of Sahara dust has been crossing Western Europe from south to north since Saturday, negatively affecting air quality, warned the European monitoring agency Copernicus on Monday, April 8.

This phenomenon, the third in two weeks, of large-scale Saharan dust moving across Europe has led to high concentrations of PM10 (particles with a diameter of less than 10 micrometers) in the Iberian Peninsula as well as in certain regions of France and Germany, sometimes exceeding the daily European standard, according to Copernicus‘ air quality monitoring service (CAMS).

“Daily maximum values of CAMS PM10 forecasts have been showing significant concentrations at surface level, and exceeding the EU 24-hour mean exposure threshold of 50 µg/m3 in some of the affected regions. ” states Copernicus in a press release.

These concentrations will continue to rise in the coming days due to atmospheric circulations that extend this transport, warns CAMS.

The dust plume has already crossed most of the Iberian Peninsula, reaching southeastern France and Germany, up to Scandinavia.

“This latest Saharan dust episode is the third of its kind in the last two weeks, and is related to the weather pattern that led to warmer weather across western Europe in recent days. The two previous episodes were mainly over the Mediterranean and southern Europe, although some effects such as deposition on people’s cars occurred as far north as Scandinavia last weekend. While it is not unusual for Saharan dust plumes to reach Europe, there has been an increase in the intensity and frequency of such episodes in recent years, which could be potentially attributed to changes in atmospheric circulation patterns.”  he adds.

Spain was particularly affected with heavy blankets of dust making the regions look like Martian lanmdscapes. Local authorities advised people to stay indoors and not exercise outdoors and to wear masks when they were outside. Pulmonary disorders and allergies make people more susceptible to sudden increases in particulate matter pollution in the air.In France on Sunday, the regional air quality observatory Atmo Occitanie warned of degraded air quality, with five departments – Haute-Garonne, Gers, Ariège, Pyrénées-Orientales, Hautes-Pyrénées – at level 4 (poor) on a scale ranging from 1 (good) to 6 (extremely bad).

Exposure to high levels of PM10 can have various health effects, including triggering asthma attacks or allergies and exacerbating certain respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, especially in vulnerable individuals (pregnant women, children, elderly people, or those with compromised immune systems).

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Mars or Bust: Elon Musk’s 20-Year Countdown to Space Civilization

Next Story

Airlander 10: How a 92-Meter Hybrid Airship Could Transform Global Aviation and Slash Emissions

Latest from Europe