Coronavirus-stricken U.S. faces another problem: A massive dust cloud from Africa

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 weeks ago  •  82 comments

By:   Denise Chow

Coronavirus-stricken U.S. faces another problem: A massive dust cloud from Africa
A massive plume of dust from the Sahara Desert drifting across the Atlantic Ocean is expected to blanket parts of the Southeastern United States this week.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



200624-dust-cloud-main-al-1006_9cfbfad153947d266e80cf138bd0c150.fit-760w.gif

The plume of Saharan dust is drifting over the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to waft over parts of the Southeastern U.S.

A massive plume of dust from the Sahara Desert is drifting across the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to blanket parts of the Southeastern United States this week.

The enormous dust cloud — which some experts say could be the biggest and most intense Saharan plume in 50 years — could aggravate health problems, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and make visibility difficult on the ground.

"Dust particles are what we call particulate matter, and we know that breathing in fine particles of anything is not good for the respiratory tract — especially people who are sensitive to poor air quality," said Thomas Gill, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso.

The added dust pollution may be particularly problematic in light of the coronavirus pandemic, because COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is a respiratory illness.

"There is some emerging information that people who live in places with higher levels of air pollution may be at higher risk" of COVID-19, said Gregory Wellenius, a professor of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health. "There may be potential interactions between air pollution and COVID symptoms or progression, but it's still pretty early data."

Still, the potential health impacts of the dusty air could put more pressure on the country's overburdened health care system, Wellenius said.

"Things like the wildfire season, hurricane season and extreme weather events, including this dust storm, may be magnified this year because resources are already stretched thin," Wellenius said. "Just because we're in a pandemic world doesn't mean that other hazards that we tend to worry about aren't happening."

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We flew over this Saharan dust plume today in the west central Atlantic. Amazing how large an area it covers! pic.twitter.com/JVGyo8LAXI — Col. Doug Hurley (@Astro_Doug) June 21, 2020

Part of the dusty veil has already reached the Caribbean Sea, and thick haze was reported Monday over Puerto Rico, Antigua and other islands in the region, according to The Associated Press.

Forecasts project that the dust cloud — which stretches thousands of miles — could swirl into the Gulf of Mexico and waft over Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere in the Southeast in the coming days.

It's not unusual for dust plumes that originate in Africa to drift thousands of miles across the ocean, but Gill said this event is especially large and intense. Astronaut Doug Hurley, who is aboard the International Space Station, snapped a dramatic photo Sunday showing the immensity of the plume over the west-central Atlantic Ocean.

"A dust cloud has to be incredibly large and very thick to be that evident from the space station," Gill said. "This one literally sticks out like a sore thumb — or maybe like a dirty thumb."

These types of dust clouds occur every year when a mass of very dry air, known as the Saharan Air Layer, forms over the Sahara Desert. The plumes form when "ripples in the lower to middle atmosphere, called tropical waves, track along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert and loft vast amounts of dust into the atmosphere," Jason Dunion, an associate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Research Division, said in a statement.

tdy_new_kerry_coronavirus_200624_2.focal-760x428.jpg

Dr. Anthony Fauci warns about 'disturbing surge' in coronavirus cases


June 24, 202002:33

Dusty outbreaks in the Sahara typically peak from late June to mid-August, but Dunion said this week's event is "impressive for its size and the amount of dry, dusty air that it contains."

When dust clouds waft across the ocean, they are carried by the same trade winds that blow west off the coast of Africa, and they can churn up tropical storms and hurricanes, Gill said.

"It's all part of the same global circulation of the atmosphere," he said.

Sahara Air Layer activity coincides with the early part of the Atlantic hurricane season, but the dusty outbreaks typically suppress the formation of tropical storms and hurricanes, which need moisture to develop and thrive.

"That's the silver lining with these dust clouds," Gill said. "It has to do with the dryness of the air mass, because you need very, very moist air to create things like tropical storms or hurricanes."

Gill warned that as the dust drifts over cities and towns, the hazy conditions could trigger air pollution alerts, and he urged people to heed public health advisories.

"It's important to pay attention to any alerts or warnings from air quality agencies," he said, "especially for people directly in the path of the dust cloud."

190618-denise_chow-byline1796_3be2b09d6c9894ef48a89dca5766d0c2.focal-100x100.jpg Denise Chow

Denise Chow is a reporter for NBC News Science focused on the environment and space.


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FLYNAVY1
1  FLYNAVY1    2 weeks ago

What's next for the US..... Plague of locust?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1    2 weeks ago

That already happened in Africa and the Middle East.  How about the rivers turning to blood.   Could all this be a sign to Trump to let his people go?

It is going to be another reason to wear a mask and goggles. 

I've said before and I say it again - better do this....

obs-en-11-03.jpg?direct%5Cu0026

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
1.2.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.2    2 weeks ago

So that's where the idea of spray-can art on the side of buildings got it's start.... BTW....The guy looks like a hippy from Woodstock!  This wouldn't by any chance be a self portrait from back in the day now would it?

Happy Thursday Buzz!

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.2.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.2.1    2 weeks ago

LOL.  I never got to Woodstock.  I was packed, had a car-full ready to go but the rain prediction scared us off.  

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.2.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.2    2 weeks ago

Do you think I could get some lamb's blood from Amazon?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.2.4  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.3    2 weeks ago

Try a Kosher slaughterhouse - they drain the blood from the animals in order to kill them, and they discard the blood.

 
 
 
Krishna
1.2.5  Krishna  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.2.1    2 weeks ago

Well Jesus (PBUH) was a hippy! He looked like a hippy, dressed like a hippy, and what he preached was pure Socialism!

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
1.2.6  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Krishna @1.2.5    2 weeks ago

and what he preached was pure Socialism!

A fact lost on modern day evangelicals and every Trump Supporter that claims to be a Christian.....  

 
 
 
It Is ME
1.2.7  It Is ME  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.2    2 weeks ago
Could all this be a sign to Trump to let his people go?

Or

A sign Trump needs to stay another 4 years and Lead us "Out" of more Crap, like he did before ?

Just a thought ! jrSmiley_34_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
1.3  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1    2 weeks ago

Isn't this the year, every 17 I think, that cicadas return?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.3.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @1.3    2 weeks ago

Yes, so nobody should go hungry.

111026-cicada%20plate-h.grid-6x2.jpg

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.3.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.3.1    2 weeks ago

Add some Tabasco and you've got lunch!

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.3.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.3.2    2 weeks ago

Cicada Recipes: Bugs Are Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Food

Blanched, boiled, or candied, cicadas are a healthy snack, experts say.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/5/130515-cicadas-recipes-food-cooking-bugs-nation-animals/

National Geographic !!!

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.3.4  Trout Giggles  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.3.3    2 weeks ago

ok

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
1.3.5  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.3.4    2 weeks ago

Come on TG.... you never ate you bait? 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.3.6  Trout Giggles  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.3.5    2 weeks ago

I never used insects for bait. I prefer red worms...they don't scream like crickets do

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.3.7  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.3.6    2 weeks ago

I never used insects for bait. I prefer red worms...they don't scream like crickets do

when i use crickets, all i ever hearis, crickets.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.3.8  Trout Giggles  replied to  igknorantzrulz @1.3.7    2 weeks ago

My son used to have a leopard gecko and I used to buy his crickets. On the way home, they chirped and chirped and I felt bad because I knew where they were going to end up

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.3.9  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.3.8    2 weeks ago

my buddy buys them as well, but how can sot a leopard gecko?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.3.10  Trout Giggles  replied to  igknorantzrulz @1.3.9    2 weeks ago

Ok...this time I didn't understand your last few words. Is there a typo in there?

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.3.11  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.3.10    2 weeks ago

yes, how can you SPOT, a leopard gecko, when they're all out selling insurance ?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.3.12  Trout Giggles  replied to  igknorantzrulz @1.3.11    2 weeks ago

LOL! This one didn't walk on his hind legs

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
1.3.13  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.3.1    2 weeks ago

I could have gone all day without seeing that picture.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
1.3.14  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.3.5    2 weeks ago

AKA sushi.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.3.15  Trout Giggles  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @1.3.14    2 weeks ago

If you're using minnows

 
 
 
Krishna
1.3.16  Krishna  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.3.3    2 weeks ago
Cicada Recipes: Bugs Are Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Food

But the only problem, at least for some folks,is that they are an animal product.

Afte r the success of "Beyond Meat" -- perhaps they will develop a "beyond Insect" product for vegetarians!

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
1.3.17  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.3.15    2 weeks ago

I'm referring more to the taste than the variety.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.3.18  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @1.3.13    2 weeks ago

I was once offered one to taste, but I passed on it. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1.4  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1    2 weeks ago

Sub-thread deleted for off topic. This is a science thread, not political. 

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
1.4.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.4    2 weeks ago

Keeping America clean, one post at a time! jrSmiley_2_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.4.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.4    2 weeks ago

LOL. Delicacies weren't on topic either, but at least it's more palatable than present-day politics.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
1.4.3  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.4.2    2 weeks ago

Perrie I think accepts derailments of humor.  Kind of a comedic relief...

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1.4.4  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.4.3    2 weeks ago

Perrie does consider fun derails healthy. I specifically don't post politics to give people a place to go and learn something and or have some fun. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.4.5  Trout Giggles  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.4.4    2 weeks ago

I'm always good for taking a seed off-topic as long as everybody laughs

 
 
 
dennis smith
1.5  dennis smith  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1    2 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
1.5.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  dennis smith @1.5    2 weeks ago

Please see Perrie's 1.4....

 
 
 
Kathleen
2  Kathleen    2 weeks ago

Looks like it will brush by my area.  For all you in the path, hope you stay safe.

 
 
 
Citizen Kane-473667
3  Citizen Kane-473667    2 weeks ago

Damn! Going to have a lot of dusting to do...and I hate dusting!

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
3.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Citizen Kane-473667 @3    2 weeks ago

That's why I have maid service

 
 
 
Citizen Kane-473667
3.1.1  Citizen Kane-473667  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1    2 weeks ago

jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
evilgenius
4  evilgenius    2 weeks ago
The enormous dust cloud — which some experts say could be the biggest and most intense Saharan plume in 50 years — could aggravate health problems, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and make visibility difficult on the ground.

and an ancient evil mummy... Well it is 2020 and that's the kind of year it is!

512

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
4.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilgenius @4    2 weeks ago

Well, it will cause dark skies. Wasn't that one of the 10 plagues?

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
4.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.1    2 weeks ago

Darkness for three days: Ex. 10:21–29

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.2  FLYNAVY1  replied to  evilgenius @4    2 weeks ago

Todays forecast calls for a 40% chance of sand by mid-afternoon......

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
4.2.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4.2    2 weeks ago

It may also produce what is called brown rain.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
4.2.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4.2.1    2 weeks ago

I've seen it rain mud in Texas

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
4.2.3  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.2.2    2 weeks ago

I've blessed the rains down in Africa...................

jrSmiley_18_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.2.4  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @4.2.3    2 weeks ago

Cursed the sand storms up in Africa  by chance....?  

 
 
 
XDm9mm
5  XDm9mm    2 weeks ago

Big deal.   It's a annual event.

And the funny thing is, EVERY YEAR they say, "This is the worst we've seen in decades."

Pollen makes the cars yellowish green in the spring.  The dust cloud makes those same cars a sandy beige in the summer.

Just don't go to a mechanical car wash that grinds that dust into the paint.  Hose it off with a garden hose first!!

 
 
 
Snuffy
5.1  Snuffy  replied to  XDm9mm @5    2 weeks ago

Yeah,  another example of how MSM pushes fear to make money. The Sahara dust cloud is actually a good thing as it tends to tamp down on hurricanes and major Atlantic storms.

I guess they discovered that people have become so jaded that fear sells better now than sex. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Snuffy @5.1    2 weeks ago

Now I didn't know that the dust cloud tamps down on Atlantic storms. Thanks for the info, Snuffy

 
 
 
Snuffy
5.1.2  Snuffy  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

Yeah,  learned about that during my "really really tough (hehe)" days in the US Air Force when stationed in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Wow, what tough duty...   those long five hours shifts...   and those TDY assignments to real hell holes like Barbers Point NAS, Hawaii, , or Leck German AFB, Leck, Germany...   so tough...  

From the posted seed :

 Sahara Air Layer activity coincides with the early part of the Atlantic hurricane season, but the dusty outbreaks typically suppress the formation of tropical storms and hurricanes, which need moisture to develop and thrive. "That's the silver lining with these dust clouds," Gill said. "It has to do with the dryness of the air mass, because you need very, very moist air to create things like tropical storms or hurricanes."
 
 
 
XDm9mm
5.1.3  XDm9mm  replied to  Snuffy @5.1    2 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.1.4  Trout Giggles  replied to  Snuffy @5.1.2    2 weeks ago

The only paradise base I got stationed at was Eielson AFB, Alaska. I loved all 3 years there.

My son is currently stationed at Hurlbert Field and got to do a really crazy TDY because he was following his aircraft (and it is his aircraft, his name is on it). He got "stuck" in Germany because they had to wait for a part. He also went to Greenland, Spain, Canada, Greece and somewhere else on that TDY. Jealous, I was

 
 
 
evilgenius
5.1.5  evilgenius  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1.1    2 weeks ago
Now I didn't know that the dust cloud tamps down on Atlantic storms.

And it fertilizes the Amazon rain forest with phosphorus and microorganisms.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
5.1.6  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Snuffy @5.1.2    2 weeks ago

Very good...... 

 
 
 
lady in black
6  lady in black    2 weeks ago

Is the zombie horde next?

 
 
 
Snuffy
6.1  Snuffy  replied to  lady in black @6    2 weeks ago

Misplaced my copy of the playbill but I thought that was slated for October...

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
6.1.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Snuffy @6.1    2 weeks ago

No, no.  That's the meteorites.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
6.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  lady in black @6    2 weeks ago

Only when Congress is in session.jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
7  Freedom Warrior    2 weeks ago

Another phony baloney crisis to stir up gullible dimwits.

 
 
 
Steve Ott
7.2  Steve Ott  replied to  Freedom Warrior @7    2 weeks ago
Another phony baloney crisis to stir up gullible dimwits.

As were Krakatoa and Timbura. As my daughter is fond of saying, "Breathing is so overrated."

If you would like to try breathing during a sand storm, I invite you to come to the desert SW. We love 'em. /sarc

 
 
 
MUVA
7.2.1  MUVA  replied to  Steve Ott @7.2    2 weeks ago

I tried in Iraq twice it sucks.

 
 
 
Steve Ott
7.2.2  Steve Ott  replied to  MUVA @7.2.1    2 weeks ago
it sucks.

Where ever you are, but even more when being shot at I would presume.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
7.2.3  sandy-2021492  replied to  Steve Ott @7.2    2 weeks ago

Only dealt with blowing sand in the desert once while on vacation.  Not really a sandstorm, as there was rain following along behind.  I was driving, and I was REALLY glad it was a rental car when I heard it scouring the paint.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
7.2.4  Trout Giggles  replied to  sandy-2021492 @7.2.3    2 weeks ago

Dealt with blowing dust in West Texas. That's how it ended up raining mud.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
8  MonsterMash    2 weeks ago

the Saharan dust has made some spectacular sunrises and sunsets here in Arkansas and it has kept the humidity down.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
8.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  MonsterMash @8    2 weeks ago

It has been rather pleasant in the mornings.

 
 
 
Ender
8.2  Ender  replied to  MonsterMash @8    2 weeks ago

Not here. Rained all yesterday and nothing but complete cloud cover today.

I wanted to see what the fuss was about, see what I could see but we will not get to.

Cloudy and rain next several days.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
8.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  MonsterMash @8    2 weeks ago

It looks like that orange cloud is coming right over Central Arkansas

 
 
 
MonsterMash
8.3.1  MonsterMash  replied to  Trout Giggles @8.3    2 weeks ago

I'm on the Oklahoma border near Ft.Smith

 
 
 
MUVA
8.3.2  MUVA  replied to  Trout Giggles @8.3    2 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
MUVA
8.3.3  MUVA  replied to  MonsterMash @8.3.1    2 weeks ago

No way my parents live in outside Greenwood.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
8.3.4  MonsterMash  replied to  MUVA @8.3.3    2 weeks ago

One of my nephews lives in Greenwood.

 
 
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