Why was the sky pink? Saharan Dust reaches Channel Islands

Saharan dust in Munich 16-3-22 Credit: Sabina Danzer
Saharan dust in Munich on Wednesday 16 March. Credit: Stefanie Danzer

Islanders may have noticed a red tinge to the sky today (March 16) or if they had ventured out, a residue on their cars.

It was due to Saharan dust moving up from Iberia.

Credit: ITV Channel TV.

Storm Celia to the south had generated the unusual spectacle which has left the sky a pale pink and beautiful sunsets.

But for islanders it was more the residue and very pale tinge to the skies today as the rain passed through.

Other than the colours, the other potential impacts when this happens can be poor visibility, and in extreme cases it can irritate peoples eyes, ears, nose and throats with fine particles of silica and other minerals. In most cases though, people will not notice any difference.

However, it is a major source of nutrients for phytoplankton and other aquatic organisms.

On a larger scale, Saharan dust can have a chilling effect, according to NASA between June 2005 and 2006 it reduced the North Atlantic sea surface temperatures and possibly contributed to the difference in hurricane activity between the two seasons.

There were only five hurricanes in 2006 compared with 15 in 2005.