Saharan Dust Forecast to Fluctuate Over Next 2 Weeks, With Increased Concentrations Likely.

As of 9:30 AM Friday 7th June 2019, Saharan Dust concentrations are mild across Trinidad and Tobago with air quality at moderate levels. Tropical waves this weekend will briefly improve air quality across Trinidad and Tobago, with a surge on Saturday into Sunday, and a more significant surge next week as these waves move out of the area. Air quality to fluctuate through the weekend, but return to moderate levels next week. Air quality may be reduced to unhealthy for sensitive groups in the vicinity of bushfires next week.

Presently, mild concentrations of Saharan Dust are present across Trinidad and Tobago, with air quality at moderate levels. As of 9:30 AM Friday 7th June 2019, most islands across the Leewards are at good air quality levels and the Windwards and Southern French Antilles at moderate levels. Islands such as Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and Barbados as well as T&T have been experiencing hazy skies and increased dust in the atmosphere over the last few days. Although tropical waves are forecast to bring some brief and short-lived improvement across Trinidad and Tobago, the other islands aren’t so fortunate with elevated dust levels maintaining its presence over the next 2 weeks. Several surges of Saharan dust forecast over the next 7 days.

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 has been over the last few days, through this afternoon as well as late Saturday into early Sunday.

Dust concentrations will decrease as the wave axis nears and passes over T&T, with showers and possible thunderstorms following the wave axis, as it will be tonight through tomorrow, and again late Sunday into Monday.

Then, a surge of dust is forecast to follow the showers and possible thunderstorms as the tropical wave progress westward, as will be the case late Saturday into early Sunday, as well as by late Monday.

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, Saharan Dust Forecast For Trinidad and Tobago. Tropical Waves on Friday night through Saturday, and Sunday night into Monday to briefly produce some relief, but surges of Saharan Dust likely following these waves, with dust lingering over the next 2 weeks.
5-Day Air Quality Index, Saharan Dust Forecast For Trinidad and Tobago. Tropical Waves on Friday night through Saturday, and Sunday night into Monday to briefly produce some relief, but surges of Saharan Dust likely following these waves, with dust lingering over the next 2 weeks.

Dust models continue to show, following the passage of tropical waves, mild to moderate concentrations of Saharan Dust moving across Trinidad and Tobago.

00Z June 6th 2019 NASA GEOS-5 Dust Model showing several surges of Saharan Dust moving across Trinidad, Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean over the next 10 days. Credit: Weatherbell
00Z June 6th 2019 NASA GEOS-5 Dust Model showing several surges of Saharan Dust moving across Trinidad, Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean over the next 10 days. 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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