Ask Storm Team 11: How does dust from the Sahara Desert impact hurricanes?


How does dust from the Sahara Desert impact hurricanes?

It’s hard to believe, but tiny dust particles all the way from Africa make their way towards the United States every year, and especially during the first few months of hurricane season. 

These plumes of Saharan Dust can be a good and bad thing. Bad in the sense it makes its way over land and can impact those with allergies. Good as it can actually suppress tropical development.

The Saharan Air Layer is a layer of very dry air. Hurricanes need moisture. Without it, they will struggle to form or weaken significantly. 

The Saharan Air Layer also needs a way to get across the Atlantic, that is thanks to very strong winds aloft. And recall, a change in wind direction or speed is called wind shear. Wind shear is also very bad for hurricanes as it causes disorganization within them. 

With Saharan Dust around, tropical activity is usually low.

Ask Storm Team 11 your questions! 

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