As of 8:30 PM Monday 3rd June 2019, Saharan Dust concentrations are minimal across Trinidad and Tobago with air quality at good levels. As forecast last week, Saharan Dust concentrations are on the rise across the Southern Windwards, with a number of islands experiencing degraded air quality. Across T&T, a notable surge in dust is forecast overnight tonight through Tuesday, with air quality likely being reduced to moderate, and unhealthy for sensitive groups at times, through Thursday.
Presently, minimal concentrations of Saharan Dust are present across Trinidad and Tobago, with air quality generally at good levels. As of 8:30 PM Monday 3rd June 2019, most islands across the Eastern Caribbean are at good air quality levels. However, the notable increase in Saharan Dust concentrations has arrived across Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Barbados. As of the latest Saharan Dust forecast models, air quality is forecast to quickly decrease overnight across Trinidad and Tobago, and remain at moderate levels through the week.
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 was on Saturday. Dust concentrations will decrease as the wave axis nears and passes over T&T, with showers and possible thunderstorms following the wave axis, as was Sunday into Monday. Then, a surge of dust is forecast to follow the showers and possible thunderstorms as the tropical wave progresses westward, as will be the case tonight into Tuesday, though the remainder of next week.
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, mild to moderate concentrations of Saharan Dust moving across Trinidad and Tobago. Tonight into Tuesday, the denser plume of Saharan Dust is forecast, reducing air quality across the Eastern Caribbean. This dust is forecast to linger through the week until the next tropical wave arrives by late Friday into Saturday.
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.