The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite attached to NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite spotted what appears to be a dust storm blowing off the Sahara Desert and into the waters of the Atlantic Basin, where it could eventually end up in the Americas.
NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite took the image on June 4. A more recent update shows the dust is well over the central Atlantic Ocean by Tuesday.
💨Big outbreak of Saharan dust across the MDR of the Atlantic.— Griffin Hardy (@GriffinHardyWX) June 8, 2021
Sleepy in the tropics this week thanks to this. 🌀🚫 pic.twitter.com/zcAhg7M7tR
Weather modeling via meteorologist John Gerard suggests this is "the beginning of the Saharan Dust season soon, satellite indicates the first large plume of the summer has emerged off the coast of Africa now and should arrive in Florida by next week."
Texas Division of Emergency Management's meteorologist John Honoré says, "It's that time of year again. Saharan dust is working its way across the Atlantic this week."
"The African easterly jet [stream] exports the dust from Africa towards the Atlantic region," Bing Pu, a geologist and atmospheric scientist at the University of Kansas, said in a NASA press release. "Then the North Atlantic subtropical high, which is a high-pressure system sitting over the subtropical North Atlantic, can further transport it towards the Caribbean region. The Caribbean low-level jet, along with the subtropical high, can further transport the dust from the Caribbean region towards the [U.S.]."
The storm comes about one year after a massive dust storm from the Sahara blanketed the Caribbean region and the Gulf of Mexico.
So it appears the Sahara dust is back, and it's already approaching parts of the Caribbean Sea. Next stop the U.S.?