Saharan Dust Cloud Arrives At The U.S. Gulf Coast, Bringing Haze


It's a journey. That's a weeks and spend thousands of miles across an ocean floating on currents of air today, a massive cloud of dust from the Sahara desert arrives in the southeastern United States to walk us through this meteorological phenomenon. We are joined by Professor Marshall Shepherd. The Director of the atmospheric scientists program at the University of Georgia welcome. Thank you for having me okay now. I've seen the satellite images, but. But tell us what it's GonNa. Look like from the ground as this wave of dust from the Sahara arrives in the United States. You know we give these things every year and some are bigger than others. These are this year quite large and so I think that's why it's garnering much attention. Typically you lose the blue sky for more hazy Milky Sky. You tend to see more vivid sunsets and sunrises because. Because of the scattering properties of the dust and interacting with the sunlight, so those are sort of the optical effects, but I think people that suffer from allergy to dust or particular matter, they actually might not find it so amusing. They may have some health issues Why is it so much bigger this year than normal? I think one thing that happened this year are e.. Is that that dust in the? The Hell region in parts of Africa sat there, and just collected because the the wind system this African easterly jet meteorologist talk about it took a bit longer to kind of get itself going, and once it gets going, you can belch and Burp that dust out into the Atlantic, and that's what we're seeing now. Because there was somewhat of a delay, there was a lot more desk sitting there the build up. All right so pros you said good sunrises and sunsets, cons, people who have health problems might find that the respiratory problems are worse. What else is this dust system? GonNa do I mean on the whole is a good thing or a bad thing you know one of the things is an earth scientist. The Earth is so connected, and this is just another example so these dust storms they actually can fertilize the oceans in parts of Amazonia. They're carrying things that really help those ecosystems. Ecosystems but on the flip side of that there's been studies recently say they can actually carry pathogens as well so when you think about Mosquitos as a vector born disease carrier some argued that these dust storms can be vectors, they can carry pathogens another perhaps positive however is that the dust? If there were to be a hurricane forming out over the Atlantic hurricanes don't like the dust. If the dust gets into those forming systems, they can weaken those storms quite a bit. How much? Much bigger. Is this one than what we would see in a typical year? You know it's interesting. I saw a colleague tweet scale. They were using some data from NASA NASA Sir several satellites up monitoring air, quality and air constituents, and literally this event was off the chart. It wasn't even the same type of event. It was just so far off the plot scale, and so four people who study atmospheric science like you is a moment totally nerd out and like remember where you. You were when the Great Sahara Dust of two thousand twenty came across the Atlantic I th I think it is I I've seen some sort of very hyperbolic terms like the Godzillas dust storm. Those types of things I don't i. don't tend to like us such hyperbole when I talk about these things, but it is an anomaly event. My good friend and colleague Tom Gill at the University of Texas El. Paso is an expert on dust storms I know he's geeking out on this. I hosted a podcast call, weather, geeks or the weather channel, and we use the term geeking out. I'm certain it. Scientists like Tom. Gillard geeking out over this dust storm. Marshall Shepherd is the Director of the atmospheric scientists program at the University of and former president of the American meteorological. Society thanks for talking with us about this monster dust storm. Thank you for having me.

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