Some scientists suggest that the dust storms can carry fungal spores or bacteria that spread diseases in corals and encourage algae blooms. This dust in the wind is a relatively regular (often yearly) occurrence. The dry, dusty storms soak up moist, hurricane-friendly air like a sponge and can create sinking air and changing winds that tear apart baby hurricanes before they get big. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Walter Wallace shooting: Philadelphia police ask residents to stay indoors as protests devolve into violence, American restaurants that revolutionized the way we eat, A Giant Dust Storm Is Heading Across the Atlantic. “When I drive down to St. Pete to go to work, I can see the dust—big orange streaks in the atmosphere,” Griffin says. It’s technically called the Saharan Air Layer because it’s a traveling layer of air with stuff originating from the Saharan Desert. The storms that head south to land directly in the Amazon occur in the winter and spring, Yu says. Running an air cleaner that has High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters and ElectroStatic Precipitators (ESPs) could help filter out the particles if you have such a machine. “I don’t remember ever seeing the sky like this in Puerto Rico.” He, along with everyone else on the island, is waiting for rain to wash away the far-flung dust from the air, the windows, and car windshields: a souvenir that is kind of impressive but that no one asked for. A giant storm of dust and sand from Africa's Sahara is heading towards the Gulf of Mexico, according to satellite images. “It’s definitely a very significant amount of dust,” says Hongbin Yu, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. A Giant Dust Storm Is Heading Across the Atlantic Dust from the Sahara can fertilize faraway lands and seas, but this supersize storm is a mixed blessing. People living in areas with high levels of air pollution are more likely to die of COVID-19, according to a recent study. It begins in the Sahara, where wind storms levitate enormous plumes of desert dust thousands of feet above the surface of the Earth. Some of the most famous dust storms of the Dust Bowl and similar conditions later were in fact synoptic scale events typically generated by a strong cold frontal passage, with 14 April 1935, 9–11 May 1934, 19 February 1954, and 11 November 1911 being particularly vivid examples. A cloud of dust from the Sahara covers the lighthouse of Havana, Cuba, at sunrise. So you could be seeing some extra large orange things in the coming days. How about around 3,500 miles or 5,600 km long? © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. Each year, on average, a dizzying 182 million tons of dust departs from the western Sahara, enough to fill 689,290 semitrucks. Though the Saharan clouds may look disastrous, they suppress hurricanes in several ways. (Photo by ELIZABETH RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images), Guillermo Nova/picture alliance via Getty Images), EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, As Jane Beitler described on the NASA Earth Data website. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health, Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), Professor By Courtesy at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and founder and CEO of Symsilico. “I don’t remember ever seeing the sky like this in Puerto Rico.” He, along with everyone else on the island, is waiting for rain to wash away the far-flung dust from the air, the windows, and car windshields: a souvenir that is kind of impressive but that no one asked for. It’s usually a good idea to do it in that order. Consider that the next time that you claim that something is unusually large. Although “good news” and “dust cloud” are two sets of words that you rarely see together, the news is not all bad. “Though I haven’t actually been outside because of, well, the virus.”. Well, that may not be a good combo. When Méndez Lázaro looked out his bedroom window in downtown San Juan Tuesday morning, though, the sky was filled with dust, an impermeable, jaundiced gray. It’s an unusually large cloud, nicknamed Godzilla because it’s potentially the largest such cloud in 50 years. And high within the jungle canopy, air plants depend on the mineral dust for nutrients as it falls slowly to Earth, according to Dale Griffin, an environmental and public-health microbiologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Dust storms can also paint sunsets with sherbet-colored streaks. This isn’t just the type of dust cloud that puffs up when you reach under your … How about a “Godzilla” dust cloud? Dust clouds can also host unwelcome stowaways. All Rights Reserved. Some scientists theorize that millions of years of this seasonal sprinkling of Saharan dust fed the cornucopia of corals encrusting the Bahamas, which are surrounded by waters that lack many of the nutrients required to create such an oasis. So take a deep breath. It begins in the Sahara, where wind storms levitate enormous plumes of desert dust thousands of feet above the surface of the Earth. Sea creatures are also thirsty for the precious minerals of Saharan dust, for better or for worse. And high within the jungle canopy, air plants depend on the mineral dust for nutrients as it falls slowly to Earth, according to Dale Griffin, an environmental and public-health microbiologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. A historic amount of dust, some say. But Saharan dust storms are driven by the seasonal migration of the winds themselves. The dust may be responsible for more alluring ocean phenomena too. But here we are. After all, dust and eyeballs ain’t a great combination. A 2001 study in Limnology and Oceanography suggested that the seasonal windfalls of iron-rich Saharan dust become a banquet for red tides, blooms of algae that spill into the ocean like dye, deplete it of oxygen, and release toxins. Connect with friends faster than ever with the new Facebook app. “These dust clouds carry a diverse community of microorganisms, some of which have the potential to be plant pathogens or human pathogens,” Griffin says. There, in camel-colored wisps thousands of miles long, the dust hitchhikes on trade winds traveling west, across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. In one sense, there’s never been a better time to ask people to wear a mask—everyone has one. I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. For example, those with asthma could be more likely to suffer asthma attacks. The dust may be responsible for more alluring ocean phenomena too. Some scientists suggest that the dust storms can carry fungal spores or bacteria that spread diseases in corals and encourage algae blooms. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. The Saharan dust cloud is a billowing ribbon of life-giving minerals such as iron and phosphorus that fertilize the most biodiverse oases on the planet, including the lush menagerie that is the Amazon rain forest. A 2001 study in Limnology and Oceanography suggested that the seasonal windfalls of iron-rich Saharan dust become a banquet for red tides, blooms of algae that spill into the ocean like dye, deplete it of oxygen, and release toxins. “If you’re an alga, then you love dust,” Griffin says. Dust from the Sahara can fertilize faraway lands and seas, but this supersize storm is a mixed blessing. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. So consider removing your clothes and taking a shower as soon as you get back inside. The dust in the sky can scatter light too. But the gargantuan plume currently making its way across the sky, over the Caribbean and heading toward the United States, is unusual for a Saharan dust cloud, both in volume and density. That’s longer than a trip from Miami to Seattle, which is about 3,300 miles and a lot of vacuum cleaner bags placed end-to-end. In one sense, there’s never been a better time to ask people to wear a mask—everyone has one. It also brings a mid-level easterly jet of air that can tear apart a developing storm. Humans, however, do not thrive in enormous dust plumes. A giant cloud of Saharan dust is expected to reach the southeastern U.S. this week after traveling more than 5,000 miles from northern Africa and blanketing many Caribbean islands in … You may opt-out by. As Jane Beitler described on the NASA Earth Data website, such a dust storm could actually suppress hurricanes. Otherwise, it would be like wearing underwear with giant holes in them, kind of defeating part of the purpose of staying at home. Luckily, a yearly windfall of 22,000 tons of Saharan dust delivers approximately enough phosphorus to replace the minerals leached by rainfall, according to a study Yu published in Geophysical Research Letters in 2015. The Saharan dust cloud is a billowing ribbon of life-giving minerals such as iron and phosphorus that fertilize the most biodiverse oases on the planet, including the lush menagerie that is the Amazon rain forest. Tracking its movement, meteorologists predict that it might travel over 5,000 miles to make its way into the US in a week. Maybe adding “and the gigantic dust cloud” may help convince people to follow the Governor’s recommendation. Scientists have known about the long-distance celebrity relationship between the Sahara and the Amazon for more than a decade, giving researchers such as Yu years to analyze the exchange. Keep your windows and doors closed to prevent the particulate matter from entering. “It’s definitely a very significant amount of dust,” says Hongbin Yu, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. On Thursday, a massive cloud of Saharan dust invaded Cancun beaches and began to affect air quality ... [+] in Florida, sparking warnings to people with respiratory illnesses to stay home. Read: Coral reefs are bleaching too frequently to recover. However, as indicated earlier, this time it’s hella big. So, if you’re in a location that will be having a dust up, this may be yet another reason to stay at home as much as you can. Could a new-onset of shortness of breath be due to a new Covid-19 coronavirus infection or breathing in the massive dust cloud that’s hanging above you? Like any kind of dust, it’s a mixed bag. TheAtlantic.com Copyright (c) 2020 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. “When I drive down to St. Pete to go to work, I can see the dust—big orange streaks in the atmosphere,” Griffin says. These clouds of dust make up one of the greatest annual migrations on the planet—not animal, but mineral. But Saharan dust storms are driven by the seasonal migration of the winds themselves. so try to protect your eyes. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is now urging people to stay at home because of the continuing spike in Covid-19 coronavirus cases. People living in areas with high levels of air pollution are more likely to die of COVID-19, according to a recent study. These clouds of dust make up one of the greatest annual migrations on the planet—not animal, but mineral. But there’s also never been a worse time to be surrounded by a miasma of particulate pollution that could trigger preexisting or new respiratory conditions.

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+ How we made $200K with 4M downloads.

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