Sahara desert dust coats swathes of Spain

More dust was forecast to arrive in "large quantities" over Tuesday and Wednesday and later reach the Netherlands and
More dust was forecast to arrive in "large quantities" over Tuesday and Wednesday and later reach the Netherlands and Germany.

A mass of hot air from the Sahara desert dumped dust on large parts of Spain including Madrid on Tuesday, colouring the sky orange and coating cars and streets.

People used hoses to wash down the dust in the centre of the capital where a brown film covered windows in .

Haze created by the hot air is driven across the Mediterranean Sea by powerful winds called "la calima". The phenomenon is common in Spain, and especially the Canary Islands, off Morocco.

But the latest episode was "extraordinary", greatly reducing visibility over swathes of the country, said Ruben del Campo, spokesman for the state weather agency AEMET.

Cities from Granada in the south, Madrid in the centre and Leon in the northeast, were affected.

Dust was forecast to continue to arrive in "large quantities" during Tuesday and Wednesday and later reach up to the Netherlands and Germany, the spokesman said.

People used hoses to wash down the dust in the centre of the capital where a brown film covered windows
People used hoses to wash down the dust in the centre of the capital where a brown film covered windows.

Air quality in Madrid and the nearby cities of Segovia and Avila was "extremely unfavourable", according to .

Storms in the Sahara create ground wind gusts which lift sand and dust into the air, the weather office said in a video posted on Twitter.

The smaller particles are suspended in the air due to the temperature difference between the ground and the hot air above. The wind then blows the particles north.


Explore further

Plume of Sahara dust caused spike in European air pollution

© 2022 AFP

Citation: Sahara desert dust coats swathes of Spain (2022, March 15) retrieved 25 June 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-03-sahara-coats-swathes-spain.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
50 shares

Feedback to editors