Launch of new sand and dust forecast website
Sand and dust storm forecasts and warnings in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa are now more accessible thanks to a new website designed to meet the growing needs of users for more information about these major weather hazards. , climate, environment and health. and economies in many parts of the world.
The website is managed by a consortium made up of the Spanish State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS), which supports the WMO Regional Center for North Africa, the Middle East and Europe of the Warning and Sand and Dust Storm Warning, Assessment System (SDS-WAS).
The Barcelona Regional Powder Center plays an important role in the production of SDS-WAS products operational and in support of research. It has helped to develop customized products for African countries and to build the capacity to use and disseminate the alerts and forecasts. There is a growing need for accurate information and predictions, particularly in desert regions, such as the Sahara and the Middle East, to support the development of early warning systems and mitigation plans.
Since 2010, the website provides access to dust observations and forecasts available, as well as relevant information on advances in mineral powder research. Sand and Dust Storms supports a community of users that spans different sectors, such as solar power plant managers, aviation professionals, and policymakers from the environmental and public health sectors.
The number of visits to the website has increased substantially to around 10,000 visits per month. To meet the growing demand, the website was completely redesigned, allowing for many more features and easier accessibility. The new version was launched on January 20, 2022 and is open to users at dust.aemet.es.
The regional center for North Africa, the Middle East and Europe uses the MONARCH atmospheric modeling system as a reference model and its ensemble forecasts include 12 different models from many countries. It is one of three regional nodes. the other two are Asia Y Pan- America. All activities are coordinated at the regional level by the Regional Steering Groups (RSG), and at the global level by the SDS-WAS Steering Committee.
The danger of sand and dust storms
Sand and dust storms are weather hazards common in arid and semi-arid regions that generate large amounts of mineral dust particles in the air. Dust particles kicked up by strong winds reduce visibility to near zero in regions near sources and are regularly transported over distances of thousands of kilometers before being deposited on land and in the ocean.
About 40% of aerosols in the troposphere (the lowest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere) are dust particles from wind erosion. Aerosols, particularly mineral dusts, affect global and regional weather and climate.
Sand and dust storms have become a serious global concern in recent decades due to their significant impacts on the environment, health, agriculture, and socioeconomic well-being. Their impacts are felt in many regions of the world and addressing them is aligned with several goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN).
21 January 2022