Massive Sahara desert dust plume drifting toward the U.S.

Scientists theorize that the nutrients transported from the Sahara desert have helped to build and nourish coral reefs in the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida for millions of years. Today’s view of a large Saharan dust plume. The dry layer acts to suppress tropical systems. Massive Sahara desert dust plume drifting toward the United States

By Jeff Berardelli

June 23, 2020 / 6:49 AM
/ CBS News

Each summer massive plumes of dust traverse the atmosphere above the tropical Atlantic Ocean, traveling 5,000 miles from the Sahara desert in northern Africa all the way to the southern United States. First published on June 22, 2020 / 9:19 AM Studies show that nutrients from African dust in subtropical and tropical soils may be critical to sustaining vegetation.For the oceans it can be both a blessing and a curse. You can barely see beyond 3 miles. Significant Dust Invasion in the Caribbean. #Miami #sunset #summer pic.twitter.com/5lEavj1uoq— Brian McNoldy (@BMcNoldy) June 22, 2020

Over the next few days the thickest of the dust layer will stay south of Florida, over Cuba. The dust, they say, appears to have a net warming influence on our atmosphere.But in the more immediate future, the biggest concern is how pervasive the dust layer will be in the tropical Atlantic this summer. The comparison photos were sent to me from Mirco Ferro who lives in St. The mid-afternoon closeup. Common as the deep layer Trade Winds get better established during summer. In a study published in this April, researchers found that scientific climate models currently underestimate the amount of coarse dust in our atmosphere by four times. Looking east over the #VCBirdAirport, #Antigua towards the Atlantic. Barts, Puerto Rico and Trindad and Tabago:
Here is an amazing comparison with a near perfect day to today. The dust layer can extend from a few thousand feet above the surface to 20,000 feet up.While the dust masses often stay generally intact during most of the trans-Atlantic journey, they typically become diffuse and diluted by the time they reach the Caribbean. Also, too many minerals in the dust can cause hyper-fertilization, contributing to algae blooms that are harmful to coral. However, so far, this particular dust layer is defying the odds. Surprisingly, much of the soil, and nutrients in the soil, in places like South Florida and the Caribbean are composed of African dust which has settled over millions of years. By late this week it will overspread Texas and the rest of the Southeast, making for hazy skies and colorful sunrises and sunsets. “We flew over this Saharan dust plume today in the west central Atlantic. While summer dust plumes are a common occurrence, the one sailing through the Caribbean right now is generating quite the buzz. Check the dates in the photos (top is from March) – both are unfiltered or altered in any way. pic.twitter.com/4hyu0C70Ay— Jeff Berardelli (@WeatherProf) June 21, 2020

For most people the dust is merely a nuisance, making for hazy skies and often leaving a dirty film on cars as it falls out of the air.  In addition, the dust may also be contributing to warming our atmosphere. Typically when thick dust layers are around, tropical activity remains quiet, and that is what is expected over the next week. That’s because the models deposit the dust out of the atmosphere too quickly. But for people with preexisting respiratory ailments, it can trigger breathing difficulty.The dust is most commonly known to be a hurricane killer. With all signs pointing to a very active hurricane season, a more persistent dust layer could help defend against tropical activity. But when the dust is rather faint, the refraction and reflection of light can contribute to stunning sunrises and sunsets, which may help to at least partially explain Sunday’s sunset in Miami. 
The sky is on fire!! Watch in near-realtime: https://t.co/mtWrgxAxqY. Without those minerals, they say, the area around the Bahamas is just too nutrient-poor to support the vibrant reefs that exist.On the flip side, during years of severe dust storms, coral seems to suffer or even die off. Trending News

Massive Sahara desert dust plume drifting toward the U.S. However, once the dust begins to settle, it appears there won’t be much standing in the way of a busy hurricane season. One theory is that contaminants mixed in with the dust from agricultural practices in the Sahel region of Africa may be contributing. Barthelemy. Yes it’s real and yes it’s normal, although this Saharan Air Layer (SAL) is a doozy – more prominent than most. Anyone who has lived in Hurricane Alley can tell you that these dry, dusty layers subdue the moisture needed to feed the hurricane engine. pic.twitter.com/aq4Ozto4Ng— CIRA (@CIRA_CSU) June 19, 2020

The dust hitches a ride along the trade winds, a belt of east-to-west moving winds near the equator which become firmly established during summertime. #SAL #DUST pic.twitter.com/FBwOG5ly1E— Mark Sudduth (@hurricanetrack) June 21, 2020

Sahara Dust before and after,this is PR right now,the worst dust ever. In HD#SaharanDust #SAL pic.twitter.com/zKSgMJZT2o— John Morales (@JohnMoralesNBC6) June 21, 2020

Here are a series of before and after photos taken Sunday on Caribbean islands like Antigua, St. Doug Hurley (@Astro_Doug)/NASA

These plumes of Saharan dust, termed Saharan Air Layer (SAL) by meteorologists, are whipped up by strong wind storms crossing the Sahara desert. NASA astronaut Doug Hurley took this photo from the International Space Station showing a plume of dust from the Sahara desert drifting across the Atlantic Ocean. pic.twitter.com/j7HHDBa93K— 268Weather (@268Weather) June 21, 2020

Ok, last dust pic for today and this one is perhaps the most incredible yet. That’s because it appears to be one of the most extreme in recent memory and it’s heading for the southeastern states.On satellite images from space, dust typically appears somewhat subtle and faint, but this plume can be seen as clear as day. The picture below was taken on Sunday from the International Space Station. pic.twitter.com/lLxMv8mo6h— T C Cape (@tmcsjgw18) June 21, 2020

This Sahara Dust really not playing yes ;-; #TrinidadandTobago #SaharanDust pic.twitter.com/bUEn9ZGX13— Blep OwO (@FangirlingReeee) June 21, 2020

The dust is so thick that the Barbados Meteorological Services issued a “Severe Dust Haze Warning” urging residents to take action due significantly reduced visibility and potential respiratory problems for people who experience difficulty breathing. Amazing how large an area it covers!” astronaut Doug Hurley tweeted. Huge “pit structure” found near Stonehenge is a new Neolithic mystery

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As you can see, when the dust is thick, it makes for very hazy yellow-brown skies. The dust enters the Atlantic Ocean near the Cape Verde islands, inside the Intertropical Convergence Zone where tropical systems often get their start. 

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NOAA’s GOES satellite captured this series of animating images on Friday as the dust entered the deep tropical Atlantic from Africa.