Friday, February 26, 2021

Kalima will come to Poland. Dust from the Sahara desert can affect air quality


The phenomenon known in the Canary Islands as kalima is caused by sand storms raging over the eastern part of the Sahara. The fine dust is carried by the wind and usually hits the Canary Islands. When it appears there, the air temperature rises sharply, and yellow dust covers everything.

The dust from the Sahara is clearly visible in satellite photos published by NASA.

According to Mark Parrington from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, Saharan dust will reach Poland on Tuesday. It will be most visible in the north of the country, however, according to forecasts, the phenomenon will cover all of Poland.

– In recent weeks, we have noted similar phenomena that have had a significant impact on air quality in the affected regions. This is confirmed by the measurements collected by the European Environment Agency. We expect this to be the case for the coming phenomenon as well. It is still uncertain to what extent the dust will be visible to the naked eye. Kalima can make the sky red more intense, visibility is reduced, and dust spots appear on cars and windows, says Mark Parrington.

The phenomenon is related to the very warm and dry air from the Sahara, which is pushed upwards and rises above the layer of colder and humid air from the ocean. Scientists refer to them as the Saharan Air Layer (SAL for short).

Desert dust from the Sahara flows into the Iberian Peninsula every year, sometimes reaching Europe and even North America. However, this year the phenomenon was more intense and it appeared much earlier than usual. In the Pyrenees and the Tatras, you could observe them almost two weeks ago.

According to experts, the earlier occurrence of the phenomenon may be a symptom of a changing climate.

The European Space Agency (ESA) reported that one of the latest studies showed that the dust from the Sahara desert, which is falling more and more often in the Old Continent, gradually reduces the level of snow in mountain ranges such as the Pyrenees. It also negatively affects the health of the inhabitants of Europe.

Doctor Jorge Fernandes, the phenomenon of the appearance of sand particles over Spain and Portugal is not uncommon, but this year it appeared much earlier and more intensely.

– For several years, desert dust, carried by winds over the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, has arrived here in March. It is visible, among others as a fine dust on cars parked outside, added Fernandes.

The Portuguese doctor recalled that as a result of rainfall originating in North Africa, the number of people complaining of respiratory ailments is increasing every spring. – Some patients perceive this phenomenon as an allergy attack – he added.

Źródło: NASA, PAP, Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service



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