Tuesday 28 September 2021

Saharan Dust Cloud Inhibits Rainfall in Costa Rica

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The skies over Tibas on Tuesday afternoon. Photo John Durán, La Nacion
The skies over Tibas on Tuesday afternoon. Photo John Durán, La Nacion

QCOSTARICA – The national weather service, the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (IMN), reported Tuesday a mass of dry air from the Saharan desert, now over Costa Rica, is inhibiting seasonal rainstorms at bay across the country, while maintaining a stable and very dry atmosphere.

The dust cloud is expected to prevent rain and reduce visibility in the Caribbean and Central Valley.

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Daniel Poleo, meteorologist at the IMN, said the country experienced a similar phenomenon in June, this being the second time this year that the African dust has affected our country and the fourth to reach Central Amercia.

Saharan dust spreading out over the Atlantic. (Image: NASA)
Saharan dust spreading out over the Atlantic. (Image: NASA)

Experts from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been studying the impact this layer of Saharan dust has on the hurricanes on this side of the Atlantic, researchers saying this week that the atmosphere over the ocean has been much drier and dustier this season and this may very well be suppressing hurricane formation.

The IMN has issued a warning to pilots of reduced visibility under 5,000 metres.

People with asthma or allergies are advised to avoid outdoor activities.

The Saharan dust clouds is due to the influence of El Niño, a warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific that occurs every two to seven years, on average, and affects weather around the world.

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Saharan dust is a mixture of sand and dust from the Sahara, the vast desert area that covers most of North Africa.

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