What does the arrival of dust from the Sahara mean for health and climate in Cuba?

The dense cloud has traveled about five thousand kilometers from Africa and several countries in the Caribbean have had to recommend to citizens the use of masks because of the damage that it will have to health to inhale these particles and also stay at home and avoid outdoor actions.

A few days ago, Dr. José Rubiera, former director of the National Forecast Center of the Meteorological Institute, assured that a cloud from the Sahara would be arriving in Cuba this week, bringing with it a dense column of dust.

This meteorological phenomenon that grabs headlines in the western zone of the world brings with it the highest concentration of dust particles observed in the region in the last 50 years, and is already visible in the Caribbean and in the eastern region of Cuba.

The dense cloud has traveled about five thousand kilometers from Africa and several countries in the Caribbean have had to recommend to citizens the use of masks because of the damage that it will have to health to inhale these particles and also stay at home and avoid outdoor actions. .

In the usual press conference on the advance of COVID-19 in Cuba on June 23, Dr. Francisco Durán, national director of Epidemiology, also mentioned that the nasobuco would be important to avoid the adverse effects of dust on the Health.

Durán said that the weather phenomenon that will affect us until Friday could cause cough, eye irritation, throat discomfort, and other manifestations, especially in allergic or asthmatic people.

Doctors who have been interviewed in the countries through which the cloud has passed already suggest that, if foreign bodies are felt in the eyes, people should wash themselves with plenty of water, preferably boiled, and before starting the procedure, clean their eyes thoroughly. hands, while recommending covering water storage sources.

According to data from the World Meteorological Organization, dust particles caused in 2014 alone some 400 thousand premature deaths from cardiopulmonary disease in the population over 30 years of age.

Experts in the meteorological field assure that the effects for the climate of the cloud are not always detrimental, since the heat of the layer that forms (sometimes the size of a continent) acts to stabilize the atmosphere when the warm air of the cloud of dust rises above the colder, denser air.

It has also been written that suspended mineral dust absorbs sunlight, another cause of temperature regulation, and that these minerals replace nutrients in tropical soils, which are traditionally affected by rainfall.

However, some biologists have warned about possible particles harmful to life in the seas, especially affecting corals, and clouds of this type help suppress the formation of cyclones, which would mean, according to the National Hurricane Center of the The United States, that if such a cloud forms again, few major hurricanes are forecast.

In the specific case of the cloud that arrives this week in Cuba, it has a horizontal extension of four thousand to five thousand kilometers, a size greater than the continental surface of the United States.

This mass of dry dust-laden air forms over the Sahara desert during late spring, summer, and early fall, and generally moves westward over the Atlantic Ocean every three to five days, but the The presence of trade winds at this time of year makes it travel more than 10,000 kilometers and reach this part of the world.