Increased Concentrations of Saharan Dust Forecast Over Next 2 Weeks

Nearly all islands across the Lesser Antilles are experiencing moderate air quality levels as of 4:00 PM Saturday 29th June 2019. A moderate surge of Saharan Dust is forecast to continue moving across Trinidad, Tobago and the Southern Windwards with its initial peak occurring on today. This dust event is not forecast to be severe but will be prolonged, with good to moderate air quality forecast throughout the two weeks.

Presently, mild to moderate concentrations of Saharan Dust are present across Trinidad and Tobago, with air quality at moderate levels.

Air Quality Index Across Trinidad and Tobago, based on U.S. air quality standards, as of 4:00 PM Saturday 29th June 2019. A moderate surge of Saharan Dust is moving across the Eastern Caribbean today.

Air Quality Index at Environmental Management Agency‘s (EMA) Air Quality Monitoring Stations Across Trinidad. Note these AQI values are to Trinidad and Tobago air quality standards.

Similar conditions are occurring across the Lesser Antilles as this dust plume began affecting the Lesser Antilles overnight.

Air Quality Index Across the Eastern Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles and Northern South America, based on U.S. air quality standards, as of 4:00 PM Saturday 29th June 2019. A moderate surge of Saharan Dust is moving across the Eastern Caribbean today.
Air Quality Index Across the Eastern Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles and Northern South America, based on U.S. air quality standards, as of 4:00 PM Saturday 29th June 2019. A moderate surge of Saharan Dust is moving across the Eastern Caribbean today.

Moderate Air Quality

AQI – 51 to 100

What does this mean for you?

Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants, there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.

Who needs to be concerned?

Unusually sensitive people: Consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion. Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. These are signs to take it easier.

Everyone else: It’s a good day to be active outside.

What should you do?

Sensitive Groups: Sensitive groups such as those with respiratory ailments, children and the elderly are advised to reduce outdoor physical exertion, and reduce the time of their stay outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic.

Air purification: At this level, the air is slightly polluted. It is recommended to turn on your air purifier, running at a low level, at a minimum.

Ventilation: Please close windows, as the air is slightly polluted.

Masks: Wearing a mask during outdoor activity is recommended, particularly in areas with heavy traffic.

Outdoor Activity: It is recommended to stay indoors and avoid outdoor exercise.

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.

5-Day Air Quality Index (based on United States EPA Standards), Saharan Dust Forecast For Trinidad and Tobago. Saharan Dust is forecast to move across Trinidad and Tobago over the next few weeks, lingering through the first half of July

Dust models continue to show, following the passage of tropical waves, moderate concentrations of Saharan Dust moving across Trinidad and Tobago over the next several weeks. Based on the latest model guidance, following this surge over the next 24 hours, another moderate surge is forecast by June 30th.

00Z 29th June 2019 CAMS Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Tropical Atlantic Dust Aerosol Optical Depth showing several surges of Saharan Dust moving across T&T over the next several days. Credit: Weathermodels.com

Sensitive groups such as persons with respiratory ailments, children, the elderly and cardiopulmonary disease should take the necessary precautions on days where dust concentrations degrade air quality to moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Saharan Dust Precautions
Saharan Dust Precautions
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