Europe, Environment

Sahara sand clouds to turn French skies orange on weekend

Anomalous weather condition can cause potential health hazards, warn health officials

Cindi Cook   | 03.06.2022
Sahara sand clouds to turn French skies orange on weekend

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PARIS (AA) – Sand clouds from the Sahara will spread over southeastern and eastern France on the weekend, turning the skies orange there.

The anomalous weather condition is a result of the Sirocco, the hot and dry wind system that comes from the Mediterranean and blows north from the Sahara Desert over North Africa, according to the weather service Meteo Contact. It then courses over the southern Mediterranean and into southeastern parts of France.

Health officials at the World Health Organization have also warned that wind like this can cause potential health hazards, recommending that people limit their exposure to such sand when it “exceeds the threshold of 45 micrograms/m3 as a daily average,” according to French news outlet Radio France International.

Other effects can happen, however, both good and bad. Dust and sand particles can carry heavy metals or infectious microorganisms, heightening the likelihood of respiratory disease in those exposed.

Certain studies by scientists have pointed to evidence that these kinds of storms could continue, given the levels of global warming seen of late.

Although sandstorms can affect various terrains, such as snow-covered peaks where snowmelt is sped up, the increased dust particles in the atmosphere can conversely cause clouds to form, thus offering more shade and more cooling to the Earth’s surface.

The system is supposed to last into early next week. Similar conditions and winds hit France from mid-March to early May, causing hues of orange and yellow to color the sky and sand to cover cars and houses as well.

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