Sand dust from the desert is expected to fly over Europe again this weekend, according to the European Atmosphere Watch Service Copernicus, which does not know at this point whether the cloud will be visible to the naked eye as in early February.
On the first weekend of February, the sky was streaked with a dark yellow color, particularly over southern and eastern France when a cloud of dust passed by from sandstorms in Algeria, and the winds swept northward. The episode also significantly degraded air quality in the flooded areas.
Copernicus said in a statement on Friday that a new “large” and “thick” column of desert dust was moving north and “is expected to hit parts of Europe over the weekend and early next week.”
The main volume is expected to focus on eastern Spain and northern France, but the cloud could reach Norway.
“We have observed similar events in recent weeks with major impacts on air quality in the affected areas,” comments Mark Barrington, scientific director at Copernicus.
“We think this will be the case for the upcoming event as well, although it is not yet certain to what extent the column will be visible to the naked eye,” he notes.
He adds: “can cause plumes of desert dust red sky, or limited visibility, or the appearance of spots on cars and windows from dust deposits, but it is difficult to predict quantitatively these effects before four or five days.”
On the other hand, Copernicus is already expecting a deterioration in air quality in Spain, France and possibly the United Kingdom and the Benelux countries, warning of the impact of this dust on the respiratory system and sediments on the ground, especially for companies.
Copernicus said that the previous plume that passed over Europe between 4 and 8 February had deposited several micrograms of particles per square meter over much of southern Europe, an amount “hundreds of times greater” than the average.