Saharan dust cloud hangs over Germany

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Saharan dust cloud hangs over Germany
This RGB Dust Composition satellite image from 29th March, 2024 shows the Saharan dust in pink. Its trajectory towards Europe is clearly visible despite the many clouds. Photo: MeteoSuisse and Eumetsat

A Saharan dust cloud is hanging over Germany this Easter, making sunshine appear milky and foggy across much of the country.


“The Sahara dust has already arrived – you can see it in the yellow-tinged fogginess in the air,” said Christian Herold, meteorologist at the German Weather Service (DWD), on Saturday.

The phenomenon is most concentrated in the west of Germany.

But it's affected other parts of Europe, including France and Switzerland more. Both reported high levels of pollution on Saturday.

And calculations estimate that the amount of dust reached around 180,000 tonnes over Switzerland alone, double the levels recorded during recent similar events, SRF Meteo forecaster Roman Brogli told public radio.

The phenomenon should still be visible on Easter Sunday in Germany, but a cold front on Monday should allow the dust to move away, said Herold.

According to the DWD, Saharan dust particles in the air in Central Europe is not unusual, happening some five to 15 times per year.

But “in terms of intensity, this is rather rare,” Herold said.

North Africa's Sahara, the world's largest hot desert, releases 60 to 200 million tonnes of mineral dust per year. While the largest particles come rapidly back down to earth, the smallest can travel thousands of kilometres. This happens most frequently in spring and autumn.



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