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Dense clouds of Saharan dust spreading over Europe and Atlantic Ocean


Earth-observing satellites are picking up two dense clouds of Saharan dust — one moving NE over the Mediterranean Sea into Europe and the other W over the Atlantic Ocean.

The European cloud has already reached southern Spain, Corsica, and most of Italy and is spreading further NE toward central Europe, Slovenia, Croatia, and the rest of the Balkan Peninsula and Greece on July 13. 

On July 14 and 15 parts of it will spread further into NE Europe and Scandinavia.

Image credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-5P: Aerosol Index (NRT), ADAM Platform/Antonio Vecoli. Acquired on July 12, 2021

Image credit: NASA/Terra MODIS. Acquired July 12, 2021

Image credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP/VIIRS. Acquired July 12, 2021


The second cloud is spreading west into the Atlantic Ocean, heavily affecting all islands west of Morocco and Western Sahara. 

Waves of dust picked up over the past couple of days have already reached the Caribbean and spread through the region.

This new wave should reach it by July 18 or 19.

Image credit: ECMWF

Image credit: NOAA/GOES-East, Zoom.Earth, TW. Acquired on July 13, 2021

Aerosol optical depth at 550 nm – 00:00 UTC, July 18, 2021 forecast. Copernicus EU/CAMS, TW

Featured image: Aerosol optical depth at 550 nm – 15:00 UTC, July 13, 2021 forecast. Copernicus EU/CAMS, TW


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  1. Does anyone have a general chemical composition of the dust? I ask because there has been a push in the past to “seed” the ocean with iron as part of a geoengineering effort to enhance carbon uptake from ocean organisms. If the dust is iron-rich it would seem like an interesting “experiment” to follow. Thanks.

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