Beautiful sunrise and Sunsets due to Saharan Dust


Several days of fantastic sunsets are expected as Saharan dust moves in across the First Coast – But what exactly is it?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Several days of beautiful sunrises and sunsets are in the forecast at the end of July though the start of August across the First Coast. This is thanks to a phenomena called Saharan dust which will help scatter light, creating milky skies during the day and a vibrant sky at sunrise and sunset.

Check the latest forecast here. 

Saharan dust gets its of name from where it originates, the Saharan desert. Dust storms there can kick up particles several miles in to the atmospheres and sometimes allows it to drift west with the easterlies across the Atlantic. 

On occasion, the dust gets taken far enough west to where it can be seen across the South Eastern USA including on the First Coast. This graphic from the University of Wisconsin shows where the dust and dry air is now.

This sat imagery is from the Geostationary orbiter GOES 16. For more information on Satellite Imagery visit here.

What are some of the Impacts?  

1) When Saharan dust is observed in the tropics, tropical systems tend to have a hard time developing as the dust is also associated with dry air and often vertical wind shear. These are all things that suppress hurricane development. 

2) Air Quality can decrease, most of the dust does remain in the upper portions of the atmosphere but some does settle down closer to the surface decreasing air quality. Those who can be impacted by this are those with respiratory issues especially younger and older people.

3) The sunrise and sunsets will be vibrant with multiple shades of reddish hues. At high sun angles like that of sunrise and sunset, additional light is scattered amongst the particles resulting in a broader light spectrum being shown. During the daytime though the sky will look milky instead of blue. 

Remember, anytime you see anything meteorologically interesting, including sunrises and sunsets, we would love to share them here on First Coast News.

You can post photos using the near me function on the weather app or at the First Coast News Weather Watchers Page.

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