The second wave of Godzilla, a Saharan dust storm attacked the Gulf Coast of the US. It brought back the repetition of the scenario that was visible across major parts of the US during the past week. The first wave of Godzilla hit the US after it caused havoc in the Caribbean regions. The sandstorm brought with it conditions such as hazy skies, vivid sunsets and sunrises, and reduced air quality across major areas. According to satellite pictures, several parts of the plume, as curated by environmentalist Pablo Mendez Lazaro, is still witnessing the effects of the dust cloud. These regions are a part of the “most significant” list created by Pablo. It includes southern parts of Florida, Minnesota, and more.
As per the recent forecast models, the second wave of Godzilla was about to leave the Caribbean and return to the US to attack the Gulf Coast. It did linger most prominently over Louisiana, southeastern Texas, and the southern portion of Mississippi. The peak of the second wave of Godzilla will took place on July 3. According to prominent satellite images, there are clots of dust hovering over the tropical Atlantic. It is spread over a large stretch starting from the coastal areas of West Africa and ended around the Caribbean. The second wave caused a further lowering of the air quality up to extremely dangerous levels.
What happens during a dust wave?
Around last weekend, between June 27 to June 28, parts of North Carolina’s Wake County reported bad air quality. The official reports were later issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The major problem that is going to arise is that the poor quality of air may have adverse effects on absolutely healthy people too. Moreover, such quality of air is highly unhealthy for young children and older adults. There are chances of health issues, especially respiratory congestions due to such environmental hazards. Plus, people with prevailing respiratory problems such as asthma should be extra cautious. The dust in the atmosphere can trigger symptoms of such disorders to an extreme level too. Moreover, if the level of concentration is on the rise, then healthy people may also experience throat, nose, and eye irritation, along with dry cough.
It is not a surprise that Saharan dust clouds regularly pass over the tropical part of the Atlantic. It then enters the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean almost every year. There is a scientific theory that results in such a phenomenon. What happens is that the minerals and sand particles in the Sahara stretch convert into a dry, hot air mass that becomes a part of the atmosphere in the desert region. The situation usually takes place during the late spring and stretches till the early days of the fall season. Later, some of the strong trade winds start blowing these masses. It is the Saharan Air Layer, and the mass keeps moving towards the west over the ocean at an interval of every three to five days. Now, this situation starts at the end of June and goes on till the mid of August.
A scientific explanation of a dust wave
During the movement, massive quantities of dust move along with the sand and mineral mass. The entire theory is a discovery of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). While the phenomenon is very common and takes place every year, the latest plume was an example of extremity. According to leading atmospheric scientists, the Godzilla dust cloud that hit the Gulf and Caribbean recently is nothing short of an unusual event in the history of such conditions.
Several studies are in the constant process now and are to date coming out with mixed results. There is still a heavy cloud over whether the latest plume can be termed as a kind of “meteorological anomaly” or something else. For more precise results, it is better to keep an eye over the study of the connection between transport and climate change. A recent development in this context is the journal called JGR: Atmospheres. The information in this says that the frequency of drought periods in North Africa may start contracting soon. The same prediction may have a strong connection with future dust plumes that could be even more intense.
During an interaction with Explica, Prospero says that the timing of such plumes is still a mystery. Such a phenomenon happens when North Africa experiences the highest temperature. Therefore, there may be a serious connection between such plumes and the increasing levels of global warming. Further, it is also speculated that global warming may result in increasing levels of dust clouding. The same regions will also witness more of these dust clouds and storms, for example, Godzilla.