Saharan Dust concentrations across the Windwards are at minimal levels on Saturday. As of 10:00 AM Saturday 15th June 2019, Saharan Dust concentrations are minimal across Trinidad and Tobago with air quality at good levels, presently. Most of the Eastern Caribbean are experiencing good air quality presently, with the exception of parts of the Leewards and Northern parts of South America. A significant surge of Saharan Dust is forecast across T&T by next Wednesday. Persons with respiratory ailments, heart disease, the elderly and children need to take the necessary precautions!
Presently, minimal concentrations of Saharan Dust are present across Trinidad and Tobago, with air quality at good levels. Air quality monitoring stations across Trinidad generally began detecting minimal levels of Saharan Dust after midnight last night, with air quality index (AQI) values generally between 20-30.
According to the EMA, the national standard for Particulate Matter (PM) of diameter ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5) is 65 µg/m3 and PM of diameter ≤10 µm (PM10) is 75 µg/m3. This has not been exceeded since the March 2019 Saharan Dust Outbreak.
Islands across the Eastern Greater Antilles, the French Antilles (except Guadeloupe), and the Windwards are experiencing good air quality while the Leewards are experiencing moderate air quality.
At moderate air quality levels, unusually sensitive groups should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
At air quality levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups, there is the increasing likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease & the elderly. People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should limit prolonged exertion.
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 to high concentrations of Saharan Dust moving across Trinidad and Tobago over the next several weeks. Based on the latest model guidance, we’re expecting a mild surge of dust overnight tonight into early Sunday, with a more significant surge of dust beginning Wednesday 18th June, with peak concentrations beginning on June 21st.
Across Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Martinique and to a lesser extent, Grenada, beginning Sunday night through next week, air quality is forecast to be reduced to moderate levels. At times, air quality may be reduced to unhealthy for sensitive groups.
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.