The Finnish Meteorological Institute has received many observations of sand dust falling on the snow.
Lately the metropolitan area has been spoken of by subcooled water falling from the sky, but now it’s the turn of even more unusual stuff.
The Sahara Desert has spread a lot of sand dust to Europe, which already on Monday was thought degrading air quality, at least in Spain and France.
Sand dust has now also been observed in Finland. For example, there was brown fine dust on the snow in the Eastern Helsinki Guard Village on Tuesday.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute reports that there have been many reports of dust falling on the snow. Observations have come widely from the western and southern parts of the country. The sand dust that has fallen on the snow is visible as a thin brownish layer.
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Meteorological researcher at the department Anu-Maija Sundström says that sand dust travels from the Sahara to Finland about once a year. A cloud of dust has originated as strong upward winds lift the sand and dust of the desert higher into the atmosphere.
From there, the cloud leaves, driven by air currents, towards the north.
“The dust is very fine and the larger particles have dripped from the start,” says Sundström.
According to him, the dust cloud travels at an altitude of about 1 to 4 kilometers.
In previous years sand dust has been observed with the naked eye as an unusually intense redness at sunset. Sundström thinks that now the dust has mixed with the cloud cover shading Finland and then rained down.
“Usually the dust travels above the clouds, but now some of the dust may have settled on top of the cloud and then mixed with it.”
Currently, the narrow cloud of dust extends from Switzerland across the Baltic to southern Finland.
Dust is unlikely to continue for the rest of the week. According to Sundström, based on satellite data, the phenomenon is probably over by Wednesday.
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