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Copernicus: Dust season in the desert is on its way to spreading dust across Europe across the Iberian Peninsula

Copernicus: Dust season in the desert is on its way to spreading dust across Europe across the Iberian Peninsula

EAS projection of the total visual depth of aerosols over Europe began at 00 UTC on (lr) February 21, 2022. Source: Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service / ECMWF

Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) monitors the distribution of dust from the Sahara every year during all stages of development and tracks the accumulation of dust clouds in the Sahara since mid-January 2022. This in turn helps provide reliable background information and forecasts for decisions about health and safety measures. EAMS forecasts and analyzes showed the presence of desert dust across the Canary Islands, the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Windblown dust is still very active across the desert and observations show how it affects air quality on both sides of the Atlantic. On February 21, CAMS expects desert dust from the eastern Mediterranean to disappear in the coming days with another dust cloud (called Kalima) that will affect the Canary Islands to reach the Iberian Peninsula later this week. The overall impact on air quality is not expected to be very significant, with the exception of the Canary Islands.

During the onset of the dust season in early January, Two dust clouds have been detected, one stretched as far as Iceland, with some of the British Isles and the North Sea recycled from January 17 to 21. The second cloud, which began to move from the desert to southern Spain and Portugal, is on its way to the North Atlantic on January 27. Around February 10, EAS forecast showed the emergence of new dust clouds over the Iberian Peninsula towards the western Mediterranean and southern Europe and another cloud that crossed the central and eastern Mediterranean from February 14 onwards.

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A cloud of dust extending from the surface to a height of 3000 m leaving the Canary Islands at the end of January has been observed over central parts of Europe at higher altitudes. The thing that mostly affects the air quality in the area. Global and regional EAMS predictions predicted this event 4-5 days in advance and showed high values ​​for aerosol optical depth and surface concentrations of PM10. EAS Dust Forecast provides information on local dust storms, or Calima, observed in the Canary Islands. This is expected to happen in the next few days after the previous dust storm at the end of January 2022.

Mark Barrington, chief researcher at the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service, comments: “The evolution of recent desert dust clouds is similar to what we have been observing in previous years. The direct effects are affecting the Canary Islands and parts of southern Europe more broadly. At the regional level. Parts of Europe or the Atlantic, depending on the wind.”

“We have monitored long-distance dust transport across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean this season as well. Monitoring these dust clouds remains important as information on deteriorating air quality in affected areas can be used to adapt health measures for people as well as industries.”

More information on EAS monitoring of this year’s dust season in the desert:

More data on air quality can be found in the Atmospheric Data Store (ADS):!/dataset/cams-global-atmospheric-composition-forecasts?tab=overview

And the!/dataset/cams-europe-air-quality-forecasts?tab=overview

About ECMWF and Copernicus

Copernicus is part of the European Union’s Space Programme, funded by the European Union, the flagship Earth observation programme. The operation operates through six thematic services: Atmosphere, Marine, Land, Climate Change, Security and Emergencies. It provides freely available operational data and services that provide users with reliable and up-to-date information about our planet and its environment. The program is coordinated and managed by the European Commission and implemented in partnership with Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMTSAT), the European Center for Medium Distance Forecasting (ECMWF), European Union agencies, Mercator Océan and more.

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ECMWF operates two services of the European Union’s Copernicus Earth Observation Program: the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). They also contribute to the Copernican Emergency Management Service (CEMS), which is implemented by the European Union Joint Research Council (JRC). The European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organization supported by 35 countries. It is a 24/7 operational research and service institute that produces and publishes digital weather forecasts to its member states. These data are fully available to the national meteorological services of the member states. The supercomputer facility (and associated data archives) at the ECMWF is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and member states can use 25% of its capacity for their own purposes.

ECMWF has increased the number of places in which it does business. In addition to the UK headquarters and the computing center in Italy, new offices focusing on activities implemented in partnership with the European Union, such as Copernicus, will be located in Bonn, Germany starting in the summer of 2021.

Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service:

Copernicus Climate Change Service:
More information about Copernicus:


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Nuria Lopez
Communication | Copernicus contracts and the press
General manager’s office
European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
Reading, UK | Bologna, Italy
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +44 (0) 118949 9778
Mobile: +44 (0) 7392277523
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Bjorn Mogensen
Oxenstierna Communication
+46 708-184298
[email protected]

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