Published On: Tue, Nov 5th, 2019

Dust of the Sahara that reaches the Yucatan Peninsula increases by 300% every year

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MERIDA, YUCATAN.- Dust clouds from the Sahara desert reach the Yucatan Peninsula each and every year.

“However, the amount of particles that come across the Atlantic, all the way from Africa into the Yucatán Peninsula, is increasing by 300 percent; a situation that could cause respiratory problems in the population”, revealed researcher  Luis Ladino Moreno, from the Science Center of the Atmosphere of the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

During the commemoration of the 97th anniversary of the Faculty of Chemistry of the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY), the specialist conducted the conference “Impact of Sahara dust on air quality, microbiota and cloud formation in the Yucatan Peninsula ”. The expert pointed out that the dust is composed of sand and dispersed aerosols, which contain bacteria, fungi and viruses, which are generated in storms formed in West Africa.

The trade winds are the prevailing pattern of easterly surface winds found in the tropics (Image: Sipse)
The expert pointed out that these mineral powders not only come from the arid regions of northern Africa, but also from the Arabian peninsula, Central Asia and even from as far as the Gobi Desert in China.

Ladino Moreno explained that in addition to respiratory problems among the population, this meteorological phenomenon is capable of causing a decrease in rainfall over the regions where it moves in large quantities, in fact, it could inhibit the formation of tropical cyclones as well.

He added that the arrival of these clouds of dust, mineral remains cause the sunrises to be grayish and the sunsets reddish.

“The amount of dust from the Sahara that enters the Peninsula depends on the intensity of the wind and its concentration on Africa,” said the specialist.

Besides the impact on health, he stressed that these African particles bring with them metals and nutrients that enrich the Yucatecan soil. And, as it affects the formation of clouds, this phenomena could also alter the development of precipitation in one way or another.

Finally, the expert from the from UNAM’s Science Center of the Atmosphere, stated that the dust from the Sahara contains phosphates and iron, which are powerful fertilizers for algae and plants.

The Riviera Maya Times Newsroom with information from UNAM’s Science Center of the Atmosphere



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