Giant dust cloud seen over Atlantic

Giant dust cloud seen over Atlantic
Giant dust cloud seen over Atlantic

Since June 13, NASA's Suomi NPP satellite has been observing the spread of a dust cloud from the Sahara over the North Atlantic Ocean. It is likely that it carries dangerous pathogens.

A cloud over 3,000 kilometers in size was noticed by a satellite during measurements of the level of suspended matter in the atmosphere. According to the Goddard Space Flight Center, it was formed by strong updrafts, and then picked up by westerly winds. The cloud has already reached the Lesser Antilles, and possibly the American continent.

Every year, the wind blows hundreds of millions of tons of Saharan dust across the Atlantic - it enlarges the beaches of the Caribbean islands and fertilizes the soil of the Amazon. But, as researchers from the Senegalese Sheikh Anta Diop University and the American University of Pennsylvania have recently found out, this dust can also carry a danger to humans.

Scientists collected dust samples from Dakar on the west coast of Africa, which are regularly brought there by the wind from the Sahara, and found in it a whole set of pathogenic bacteria that can cause serious respiratory diseases in humans. Moreover, these bacteria are quite capable of entering the body together with the inhalation of dust, which they, in the words of the authors of the study, "use as a ride."

Given the geography of the distribution of dust clouds, these bacteria can thus get to the Caribbean, the Southeastern United States, Brazil and Europe. In Senegal itself, as scientists note, referring to previous studies, during the "dust season" there is a sharp increase in the level of asthma, bronchitis and SARS.

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