Large Saharan Dust Cloud

William Kiene Kiene at
Tue Feb 29 12:55:45 EST 2000

For those interested in the potential link between African dust and
Caribbean coral reefs the following may be of interest.  Does it offer a
chance to test the hypothesis?

See the SeaWIFS web site for images of this cloud: 

>A massive sandstorm blowing off the northwest African desert
>has blanketed hundreds of thousands of square miles of the
>eastern Atlantic Ocean  with a dense cloud of Saharan sand.
>The massive nature of this particular storm was first seen in a
>SeaWiFS image on Saturday, 26 February 2000 when it reached
>over 1000 miles into the Atlantic.  These storms and the rising warm
>air can lift dust 15,000 feet or so above the African deserts and then
>out across the Atlantic, many times reaching as far as the
>Caribbean where they often require the local weather services to
>issue air pollution alerts as was recently the case in San Juan, Puerto
>Recent studies by the U.S. Geological Survey


have linked the decline of
>the coral reefs in the Caribbean to the increasing frequency and
>of Saharan Dust events.  Additionally, other studies suggest that
>Sahalian Dust may play a role in determining the frequency and intensity
>of hurricanes formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean

William E. Kiene, Ph.D.
Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of Natural History
EG-13 MRC-125
Washington DC 20560-0125
Tel: (202) 357-2309
Fax: (202) 786-2832
E-mail: kiene at 

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