Minimal Saharan Dust Forecast Across T&T Over Next 10 Days

Saharan Dust is forecast to generally remain north and east of Trinidad and Tobago over the next several days, allowing the country to breathe relatively clean air over the next ten days.

What you need to know

Saharan Dust Surges: The ongoing mild dust surge for T&T is forecast to diminish by late Wednesday with generally minimal dust through the next ten days.
Impacts: Through the next ten days, air quality levels across Trinidad and Tobago will fluctuate between good and moderate levels, primarily due to traffic rather than Saharan Dust.
What Should You Do: Sensitive groups may need to take the necessary precautions during high-traffic periods. The general population will remain unaffected.

Current AQI Levels Across T&T

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) air quality monitoring stations across Trinidad and Tobago over the last 24 hours.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) air quality monitoring stations at San Fernando, Point Lisas, Signal Hill, and Port of Spain have recorded good to moderate air quality levels over the last 24 hours.

These measurements are based on PM2.5 (particulates the size of 2.5 micrometers and smaller, usually associated with increases in Saharan Dust, vehicle exhaust, and smoke) and PM10 particulates.

Over the last 24 hours, visibility remained near or above ten kilometers at the Piarco International Airport and A.N.R. Robinson International Airport at Crown Point, Tobago, outside of shower and thunderstorm activity.

Saharan Dust Forecast

00Z Tuesday, September 20th, 2022, NASA GEOS-5 Dust Extinction Model Monitoring Tropical Atlantic Aerosol Optical Depth showing Saharan Dust

Next Surge: None over the next 10 days for T&T

Dust models show no major surges of Sharan Dust for T&T over the next seven to ten days, with higher dust concentrations remaining north of the country.

Air quality levels will vary from good to moderate across T&T, with visibility generally remaining near or above ten kilometers outside of shower or thunderstorm activity.

What does this mean for you?

The air quality is forecast to be lowered primarily during high traffic periods, particularly between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM and again from 3:00 PM through 6:30 PM.

We’re in a period where the Intertropical Convergence Zone and tropical waves and occasional tropical cyclones may shield Trinidad and Tobago from the Saharan Dust events. While Tropical Waves play a notable role in moving dust across the Atlantic and the Eastern Caribbean, these periodic tropical waves also improve air quality.

The concentration of the dust that follows the wave depends on its strength as it moves off the West African Coast. This is because of stronger thunderstorms across Central Africa. As strong winds move downward and outward from these thunderstorms, the wind kicks up dust as it moves across parts of the Saharan Desert and transports it into the upper atmosphere. This “plume” of dust follows the axis of the wave as it progresses westward into the Atlantic.

Dust that makes it into the upper levels of the atmosphere can then get transported across the Atlantic Ocean. The plumes of dust eventually affect the Eastern Caribbean.

Larger, more concentrated plumes of Saharan dust begin in April and continue through November.

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