Satellite images show how the Saharan Dust Plume is spreading off 

The thick dust of the Saharan dust plume is now clearly visible In satellite images. An observation by NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite makes it very clear how a large plume of Saharan dust is heading towards the North Atlantic Ocean.

Satellite images show how the Saharan Dust Plume is spreading off 
satellite images of saharan desert

Satellite images show how the Saharan Dust Plume is spreading off 

The thick dust of the Saharan dust plume is now clearly visible In satellite images. The dense brown sheen is making it hard to differentiate between the continent and the ocean. 

An observation by NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite makes it very clear how a large plume of Saharan dust is heading towards the North Atlantic Ocean. It started streaming on 13 June and spread over 2,000 miles. 

Satellite image showing large light brown plume (Image source: NASA Worldview) 

A predictive model for Events 

A scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has also prepared an animation showing how a massive dust cloud due to strong atmospheric updrafts is moved up by the westward winds. From 13 June to 18 June it crossed the Atlantic and blown up over North and South America. They detected the dust using aerosol index measurements. The Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite ( OMPS) data of the Suomi- NPP satellite was overlaid over Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite ( VIIRS) imagery to prepare this model. Sand plume formation:

 

Aerosol index created from NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite’s Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) (Credit: NASA/NOAA, Colin Seftor). 

 

Every year, millions of tons of dust get blown across the Atlantic Ocean from the African deserts causing many environmental changes. This process is crucial to building beaches in the Caribbean. In the North and South American region, it affects air quality. The blown dust also fertilizes soils in the Amazon. 

Relation between Saharan Air Layer ( SAL) and Hurricane 

It usually happens during hurricane season. A hurricane requires hot, humid and calm environment but Saharan dust is a swath of extremely dry air. The dryness of dust plume inhibit hurricane formation by reducing the convective instability and the ambient moisture of the environment. Large dust swaths head towards the Atlantic Ocean starting from late spring into early fall. Sometimes, the dust even travels into the U.S. They have several direct and indirect impacts on the land. 

The dry air can weaken the tropical cyclones. They create downdrafts around tropical storms and hurricanes. They can also increase vertical wind shear making the atmosphere hostile for the development of tropical cyclones. 

Effects of SAL in various regions

The effect of Saharan dust plume can be seen in the form of a milky haze in the sky that is blue in color otherwise. It is a result of the scattering of sunrays from the fine dust particles. On reaching the surface, these dust particles can also cause allergies to sensitive people. Air quality due to the presence of dust particles become unhealthy.

Saharan dust plume is generally located between 5,000-20,000 feet above the ground surface. According to NASA, the Gulf of Mexico can expect toxic algal blooms because of dust. For now, be ready for a picturesque view of the red and orange sky.