Saharan Dust Forecast to Briefly Decrease Due to Tropical Wave, Increase Again by Late Week

As of 8:00 AM Monday 27th May 2019, Saharan Dust concentrations are mild across Trinidad and Tobago. A decrease in dust concentrations is forecast late Monday into Tuesday as a tropical wave is forecast to briefly reduce dust concentrations. Islands from Trinidad and Tobago to Martinique are presently experiencing good to moderate air quality. An additional surge in dust is forecast late Wednesday next week, with a more significant surge of dust forecast in early June, by June 5th, 2019.

Presently, mild concentrations of Saharan Dust are present across Trinidad and Tobago, with air quality generally at good to moderate levels. As of 8:00 AM Monday 27th May 2019, most islands across the Eastern Caribbean are at good air quality levels. As of the latest Saharan Dust forecast models, air quality is forecast to remain between good and moderate levels through Monday.

At moderate air quality levels, unusually sensitive groups should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.

Now that tropical waves are beginning to move across the Atlantic, Saharan Dust follows a more predictable pattern. Hot, mostly sunny and slightly hazy conditions with mild concentrations of Saharan Dust are typical ahead of a tropical wave, as it will be on Monday. Dust concentrations will decrease as the wave axis nears and passes over T&T, with showers and possible thunderstorms following the wave axis, as will be the case Tuesday into Wednesday. Then, a surge of dust is forecast to follow the showers and possible thunderstorms as the tropical wave progresses westward, as will be the cast late Wednesday into Thursday.

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 transport 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, Saharan Dust Forecast For Trinidad and Tobago.
5-Day Air Quality Index, Saharan Dust Forecast For Trinidad and Tobago.

Dust models continue to show, following the passage of tropical waves, mild to moderate concentrations of Saharan Dust moving across Trinidad and Tobago. Over the longer term, at the beginning of June, following the passage of the second tropical wave of the 2019 Hurricane Season, a moderate plume of dust is forecast to move across T&T, and the Eastern Caribbean. This dust event is more than a week away. Updates will be posted accordingly.

00Z May 26th 2019 NASA GEOS-5 Dust Model showing increased concentrations of Saharan Dust aimed at the Lesser Antilles by June 5th 2019. Credit: Weatherbell
00Z May 26th 2019 NASA GEOS-5 Dust Model showing increased concentrations of Saharan Dust aimed at the Lesser Antilles by June 5th 2019. Credit: Weatherbell

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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