Climatology

Saharan dust clouds reach Florida and the Atlantic Coast. What is it?

Noticing hazy skies in Florida?

That could be dust carried from Africa’s Sahara Desert, making it all the way to the Southeast states.

The movement of dry air filled with Saharan dust happens yearly, often reaching the US just before the Atlantic hurricane season. Last year, the dust clouds were predicted to be seen in Florida by mid-June.

Along with air pollution, other possible health hazards include eye, ear, nose and throat irritations.

Palm Beach weather:Storms, heat, Saharan dust could be on tap for the weekend

NASA research split:Will Florida see more or less of these yearly storms?

See Monday’s dust forecast below from NASA and the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO), an organization that uses computer models and data assimilation techniques to enhance NASA’s program of Earth Observations.

NASA / GMAO - SEOS Forecast: Dust Aerosol Optimal Thickness map

What is Saharan dust?

Also called the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Saharan dust is a mass of very dry, dusty air that forms over the Sahara Desert during the late spring, summer and early fall.

Its dust clouds can travel and impact locations around the globe, thousands of miles away from its African origins. The warmth, dryness and strong winds associated with the dust clouds have been shown to suppress tropical cyclones.

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