The desert sand will travel to Scandinavia, if the provisions of the Service for the Monitoring of the Atmosphere of the europa Copernicus network are met.
In the Canary Islands, where they have spent almost a week under the haze, they will breathe easier again.
The European Earth Observation Network estimates that on Sunday a thick plume of Saharan dust will cover the skies of Spain, France, northern Italy and the Benelux, reaching the Scandinavian countries. The winds from the south, which are causing exceptionally high temperatures for this time of year, welcome in the middle of the cold winter, also arrive with their dose of haze.
The phenomenon may not be visible at higher latitudes, but it will have an effect on air quality, increasing the concentration of fine particles.
The highest concentrations will be in Spain and France and the episode could last until the middle of the week.
Recently, south winds caused a similar episode that covered the snow in the Alps and Pyrenees with Saharan dust, causing “sepia-colored” scenes in Spain, France and Italy.
This week the Canary Islands have lived under a very intense episode of this dark haze.
The main effect, in addition to causing beautiful sunsets, is the worsening of the air quality. Mark Parrington, Senior Scientist with the Copernicus Atmospheric Watch Service, comments: “In recent weeks we have seen similar events with significant impacts on air quality in affected regions, which were confirmed by country surface measurements collected by the European Environment Agency. We hope this will also be the case for the next episode. “
Sensitive people should reduce exposure to particulate matter by, for example, avoiding prolonged exercise. “High concentrations of dust can have an impact on the health of the respiratory systems of all people in affected regions and add to particulate air pollution from local sources.” Dust deposition can reduce visibility and affect sensitive equipment such as machinery.
Desert dust, however, has an important role for biodiversity, acting as a fertilizer by transporting organic matter and minerals. It is estimated that it plays an important role in the fauna and flora of the Atlantic Ocean and even in the Amazon rainforest, which are its most common destinations.
The Copernicus network together with data from the European Center for Medium-Term Weather Forecasts ECMWF are able to produce air quality forecasts thanks to satellite and field measurements together with its large database.