Nearly all islands across the Lesser Antilles are experiencing moderate air quality levels as of 7:30 AM Tuesday 25th June 2019. A moderate surge of Saharan Dust is forecast to continue moving across Trinidad, Tobago and the Southern Windwards with its peak occurring on today. This dust event is not forecast to be severe, with good to moderate air quality forecast throughout the week. A more significant surge in Saharan Dust forecast by Saturday, which will be more prolonged, into the first week of July.
Presently, mild to moderate concentrations of Saharan Dust are present across Trinidad and Tobago, with air quality at moderate levels.
Similar conditions are occurring across the Lesser Antilles as this dust plume began affecting the Lesser Antilles overnight. Note that this dust plume has not been as significant in reducing air quality as the previous surge, late last week.
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.
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.
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.