TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Two large, dense plumes of Saharan dust are forecast to move across the Atlantic Ocean toward the Caribbean Sea and possibly the United States over the next couple of weeks.
Hazy skies and possibly more vivid sunsets are in the forecast as the latest plumes move in.
Tropical activity, however, is not in the forecast. That’s due, in-part, to the dust plumes. A tropical system needs moisture to develop and the dust is quite dry as it comes directly from the desert.
The same winds that push the dust thousands of miles across the Atlantic also help limit organization of a tropical system. The winds aren’t that strong, at 10 to 15 mph, but it’s enough to impart some wind shear.
Another somewhat notable effect is how the dust and minerals inside the plume absorb sunlight and the sun’s energy that typically heats up the waters. This is a helpful long-term effect because it could keep the Atlantic Ocean from warming too quickly.
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