Saharan Dust Forecast To Return This Weekend

Tropical Wave 63 has diminished Saharan Dust concentrations across T&T over the last 48 hours. With a flurry of tropical activity in the Atlantic, Saharan Dust is forecast to remain in the far Eastern Atlantic until this weekend. A mild surge of dust is forecast to arrive across T&T and the Eastern Caribbean on Saturday 14th November 2020 and persist into the following week.

Across the country, air quality is at good levels presently with visibility above 10 kilometers as of 3:00 PM Sunday 8th November 2020.

The Saharan Dust Forecast

Based on the latest dust modeling, air quality across Trinidad and Tobago is forecast to remain at good levels through Friday. Come November 14th, or Divali 2020, a mild surge of Saharan Dust will begin to affect T&T.

The peak of this dust episode will occur overnight November 14th into November 15th 2020. Lower concentrations may linger into the following week.

02Z Sunday 8th November 2020, NASA GEOS-5 Dust Extinction Model Monitoring Tropical Atlantic Dust Aerosol Optical Depth showing Saharan Dust. (Weathermodels)
02Z Sunday 8th November 2020, NASA GEOS-5 Dust Extinction Model Monitoring Tropical Atlantic Dust Aerosol Optical Depth showing Saharan Dust. (Weathermodels)

What does this mean for you?

Through the week, no impacts are forecast as air quality will be at good levels.

For the general population from November 14th onwards, little to no impacts are forecast beyond reduced visibility. For sensitive groups, such as children, the elderly, and persons who suffer from respiratory ailments and allergies, you may need to avoid prolonged exertion outdoors.

We’re in a period where the ITCZ, tropical waves and occasional tropical cyclones 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 frequent tropical waves also aid in improving air quality.

The concentration of the dust that follows the wave depends on the strength of the wave 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.

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

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