Daily Archives: August 8, 2022

Can dust from Africa reach the United States?

Yes. Soil-derived aerosols, or dust, are abundant in our atmosphere. One source of dust is sandstorms over the Sahara. These storms whip small pieces of mineral dust from the desert into the atmosphere. Easterly winds then carry large plumes of Saharan dust away from the desert and over the Atlantic Ocean.

This weather system is referred to as a Saharan air layer, or SAL, and at times dust in the SAL has traveled to the Caribbean, Texas and Florida. Desert dust from the Sahara and Gobi deserts has been observed on the ice sheet of Greenland. Ice cores in Greenland provide a history of the dust deposition as it appears as layers in the ice. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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