African dust clouds worry Caribbean scientists

Repeating Islands

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Each summer, microscopic dust particles kicked up by African sandstorms blow thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic to arrive in the Caribbean, limiting airplane pilots’ visibility to just a few kilometres and contributing to the suffering of asthmatics trying to draw breath, the Associated Press reports.

The phenomenon has been around as long as there’s been sand in the Sahara Desert. But it’s attracting ever more attention from regional scientists who say the clouds have grown, even if there’s no global consensus on the issue.

In recent days and weeks a particularly large cloud dusted eastern Caribbean islands, made for hazy skies and intense, tangerine-tinted sunsets off Havana, drifted over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and was detected as far away as Wyoming. In satellite images provided by NASA, the enormous, smoky clouds can be seen wafting westward from Africa covering hundreds of square miles. From the ground, they can bring a…

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