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Large amount of Saharan dust moving over the Atlantic Ocean

large-amount-of-saharan-dust-moving-over-the-atlantic-ocean

Another large Saharan dust cloud has lifted off western Africa late Sunday, August 22, 2021, and is now moving over the Atlantic Ocean toward the Caribbean and the United States.

The cloud seems of similar strength to the one produced last week.

Image credit: NOAA/GOES-East, Zoom.Earth, TW. Acquired at 17:20 UTC on August 23, 2021

Saharan Air Layer (SAL) activity typically ramps up in mid-June and peaks from late June to mid-August, with new outbreaks occurring every three to five days.

"During this peak period, it is common for individual SAL outbreaks to reach farther to the west—as far west as Florida, Central America and even Texas—and cover extensive areas of the Atlantic (sometimes as large as the lower 48 United States)," said Dr. Jason Dunion, a University of Miami hurricane researcher working with NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.1

The layer has unique properties of warmth, dry air and strong winds that can act to suppress hurricane formation and intensification.

References:

1 The Saharan Air Layer: What is it? Why does NOAA track it? – NOAA

Featured image credit: NOAA/GOES-East, Zoom.Earth, TW. Acquired at 17:20 UTC on August 23, 2021

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