The presented image was obtained on January 25, 2024, by the NASA-owned Terra satellite. It shows a dust curtain over Cabo Verde (Canary Islands).
The source of this dust is the Sahara Desert. A dust cloud lifted by the wind reached Cabo Verde, located about 550 kilometers from the African coast, creating a haze over it and significantly deteriorating air quality. Terra’s photo shows the characteristic dust patterns from the leeward sides of the islands. They are formed due to the fact that their relief disrupts the movement of air masses.
Dust from the Sahara can spread over long distances. In the Canary Islands, it is called “La Calima”. These days, locals are advised to keep their windows closed and avoid being outdoors. As for the photographed storm by Terra, at the end of January, the Saharan dust reached northwestern Europe and the British Isles.
Large plumes of Saharan dust can occur at any time of the year, but their fate depends on the season. In late spring and early autumn, the Saharan air layer carries dust high in the atmosphere westward across the Atlantic Ocean and can influence the formation and intensity of tropical cyclones. Conversely, dust rising from the African continent in winter and spring, as a rule, remains at lower altitudes and is carried by the northeast trade winds.
You can also read about the consequences of accelerating or slowing down the Earth’s rotation.
According to https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov
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