Saharan Dust in Western Europe

Map showing dust plumes from Africa spreading across Europe
NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens

A dust plume from the Sahara, driven by an atmospheric river, blew across western Europe this week, and friends from Spain to Germany experienced it. NASA Earth Observatory has satellite imagery of the plume, plus maps (above) showing “a model of the dust plumes blowing across North Africa and into Europe on March 14 and 15. The model was generated by the Goddard Earth Observing System Model, Version 5 (GEOS-5), a global atmospheric model that uses mathematical equations to represent physical processes. Measurements of physical properties like temperature, moisture, and wind speeds and directions are routinely folded into the model to keep the simulation as close to observed reality as possible.”