The first Sahara dust of the year over Europe could make itself felt in Germany on Thursday, including on cars and windows. This was announced by the EU's Copernicus Atmosphere Service. A major impact on the quality of breathing air is not expected in Germany, but rain could bring the dust to the ground on Thursday, said the leading Copernicus scientist Mark Parrington at the request of the German Press Agency. In this way, the dust is also deposited on panes and other objects.
According to the Copernicus forecast, the Sahara dust should reach north-west Germany as early as Wednesday and continue to spread across the country during the day, at night and on Thursday. However, most of the dust is found at high altitudes. The German weather service predicted rain in parts of Germany for Thursday.
According to the Atmosphere Service, larger amounts of dust from North Africa reached Europe this week for the first time this year and were moving from the Iberian Peninsula towards France and Central and Eastern Europe. Effects on air quality were expected primarily for Portugal and Spain. A reddish discoloration of the sky is typical of Sahara dust.
Possible impact on health and energy sectors
Saharan dust could affect human health and the energy sector, a Copernicus statement said. For example, allergies could be intensified. The dust particles in the atmosphere could also affect the generation of solar energy.
Desert dust in the sky is a recurring event. According to the German Weather Service, the typical source areas and trajectories of desert dust change depending on the season. In winter there are therefore cases in which the dust from the Sahara is first blown out into the Atlantic and carried north around the Azores high to Europe. If it is deposited on snow surfaces, it is called "blood snow". In early summer, dust particles are more frequently carried directly across the Atlas Mountains to Central Europe.
The Atmosphere Monitoring Service is one of several components of the European Union's Copernicus programme. Among other things, it provides data on the atmosphere, oceans, land, climate change, security and energy obtained from satellite images.