Sahara Desert dust expected to increase in Yucatán

A yearly deposit of Saharan dust is evident in the sky at dusk. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán – Hot and humid Yucatán is tropical and wet, but residents this week have been reminded that trade winds connect us to the world’s largest hot and arid desert in faraway Africa.

Dust from the Sahara desert has made its way to Yucatán, as it does most every year around this time.

The consequences are benign to most people — sunsets are more vivid — but to some, it’s a health concern.

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A climate map from early this morning shows a surge of dust approaching Yucatán from the Sahara Desert. Source: University of Athens, Greece

This phenomenon, which sent desert dust more than 7,500 kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean, first brought lesser amounts of sediment. But according to Meteorología Yucatán, an increase in dust was detected overnight, so caution is recommended.

Coming from agricultural areas of the Sahara, the powder contains a high concentration of fungus, viruses and bacteria. Its effects can include sneezing, eye irritation and asthma attacks.

Reports of dust began Tuesday.

With information from Sipse

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