Huge dust storm heading for southern England
15 March 2022
Dr Claire Ryder, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Reading, said:
“A massive dust plume, currently over Spain and France, is on its way to the UK from North Africa. The plume is forecast to reach southern England during the early hours of Wednesday, covering areas from Dorset to Suffolk, with the southeast counties, particularly Kent, being the worst affected.
“The main plume is forecast to remain over the continent with only the weaker edges grazing southern England. Dust amounts will likely be significantly lower over England compared to extremely dusty conditions currently being experienced over Spain and France.
“Those up early enough on Wednesday will see the tell-tale red dusty sunrise. This is caused by the dust absorbing blue light from the sun and letting more red light through when the sun is low in the sky. By evening the dust will have moved eastwards towards the Netherlands and Germany.
“People are likely to see surfaces such as cars getting dusty and red, and air quality may be slightly lower than usual due to the dust particles in the air.
“The dust has been transported more than 1,500 miles to the UK from Algeria and Morocco over the last two days, driven by strong winds from Storm Celia, named by the Spanish Meteorological Agency.
“Red skies and poor air quality have been experienced from Algeria, to Spain, France and as far as the Alps, where snow has been tinged with red, and even in Vienna.
“The winds associated with the storm lifted dust particles up into the atmosphere, to high altitudes of around 3-4km, where they can then be transported over continental-scale distances, causing impacts across Europe.
“We could see reduced solar energy production and slightly lower surface temperatures, because the dust reflects some sunlight back out into space.”