Wednesday 28th March, 2018 –Climatologist Dale Destin says satellite images of Sahara Dust over Antigua and Barbuda may have been enhanced, giving a false impression of the severity of the situation.
An image of the Sahara Dust was issued by the Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate based in Trinidad, but the Antiguan climatologist says what is being seen is not what is taking place.
Destin noted there will be other episodes of Sahara Dust but currently a cold front is near Antigua and Barbuda and the winds associated with the cold front will prevent the dust from moving across the country.
Research has shown that the Sahara Dust causes asthmatic flare ups and other respiratory complaints. The impact of the dust on health is said to be caused mainly by the bacterial and fungal spores it contains.
Of much graver concern to health professionals is the fact that the dust also contains chemicals such as pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to be very harmful to human health.
The Saharan Dust is not all bad. In addition to being a hurricane blocker, it is good for the environment according to reports. The dust is rich in plant nutrients and is believed to be largely responsible for the fertility of the Amazon Rainforest.
According to Monitoring Atmospheric Composition, the dust is not predictable beyond days; thus, its impact on the upcoming hurricane season is unknown. However, once present, it could combine with El Nino to produce a very quiet hurricane season. Additionally, it could combine with El Nino to cause well below normal rainfall for the Caribbean.