Saharan Dust Storm Sweeps Spain

Residents in Spain woke up to the sky filled with enormous dust clouds causing an alert on the air quality in the country. Sand and dust storms occur when strong, hot winds move across loose soils on dry land causing major destruction to society. This cloud has transported miles across the Mediterranean Sea from Africa’s Saharan Desert on Thursday. Health officials have advised citizens to avoid going outdoors and if needed to do so, use face coverings. It is important to prioritize everyone’s health and those with allergies and respiratory problems are most at risk as small-particles are in the air.

Dust Storm Discolors Sky Over North Africa

The North African sky was changed to a brownish-yellow color on Thursday, and the discoloration is predicted to last for at least another few days. This was caused by a low pressure system that’s wind carried some of the dry, sandy ground from nearby deserts. The system is affecting a huge area from Tunisia to the Canaries as well as the Iberian Peninsula and Madeira.

Dust storms and smog revisit the streets of Beijing

In light of severe dust conditions in the southwest and central regions of America, I was thinking about how the effects of hazardous natural conditions around the world relate to population density. Natural phenomena like drought can become disastrous with large populations,  which often over farm and have poor land use planning.

Mongolia is well known for its desert-like climate. There are frequent dust storms there. The Mongolian climate is not very hospitable, and thus it is sparsely populated. However, China, Mongolia’s neighbor, has densely populated urban areas. Beijing is famous for its poor air quality. There is smog on a regular basis.  But when dust storms are strong in Mongolia, the dust is carried to Beijing. Beijing is currently experiencing severe winds and air quality problems exacerbated by the Mongolian dust. According to the South China Morning Post, “Strong, dry winds struck the city at about 10am, bringing a wall of dust from the Mongolian frontier, reducing the already poor visibility from lingering haze on Thursday and Friday, and disrupting flights and high-speed trains.”   While the dust might not be a threat when it stays within Mongolia, its presence in China is a disaster.




Sandstorm Sweeps Japan

Eastern Japan has just experienced a sandstorm as well as severely high temperatures.  Tokyo reached 25.3 degrees Celsius.  This temperature is the highest that Tokyo has ever experienced in March since 1876.  To go along with this hot temperature, an extremely strong wind came from the north and blew an enormous amount of dust over Tokyo.  This sandstorm led to a drastic drop in temperature of 10 degrees Celsius.  This sandstorm delayed Japan’s trains, airplanes and traffic.  The sandstorm also strongly blurred visibility in many areas, leading to dangerous traveling.


Go to this site to watch a video of the storm:

Dust Storm in China

On March 8th 2013 a satellite image captured a dust storm along the border between China and southwestern Mongolia and is said to have started in multiple locations. The storm blew towards the southeast basically following the border between the two countries. This storm has greatly affected visibility in the area and it is reported by the BBC that it has disrupted traffic in the area. This region is said to be “one of the world’s most prolific dust producers, and dust storms are among Mongolia’s leading natural hazards.” Dust storm

Wind Storms in Turkey

Strong wind storms impacted Turkey on Wednesday. There was a recorded wind gust of 137kph in one area. In the capital there were winds recorded at 62mph. It caused a yacht to fire to burn uncontrollably, roof destruction to 300 buildings, and killed 5. The storm that produced these winds also caused a tornado in Moldova, which is located a little  north of Turkey.

There was a video included with the article as well.

So much dust.

Dust storms are normal this time of year for the northern Africa and the Middle East, but March seemed to be particularly dusty. Storms appeared off the coast of Yemen, near the Syria-Iraq border, and even over the Mediterranean.

Dust seems like such an innocuous substance, but in arid regions it can be one of the most dangerous hazards. Even the Midwest of the United States is susceptible; the Dust Bowl in the 1930s was incredibly damaging and disruptive. Granted, the effects of the dust storms were magnified by poor farming practices, but the long drought beforehand created a perfect setting for dust storms.

Dangerous dust storm visible from space

NASA captured an image of a large dust storm over the Texas Panhandle earlier this week.  The storm resulted from strong winds behind a cold front that passed through the area, with most of the wind gusts registering at about 48 mph.  Visibility was limited for several hours due to the amount of dust and dirt being blown around.  Multiple car accidents were reported due to the low visibility.

There is also a video of satellite imagery of the dust storm.



WJLA: Dust storm big enough to be seen from space over Texas ––14583.html