Dust storm

Dust storm

Overview
A dust / sand storm is a meteorological phenomenon
Meteorological phenomenon
A meteorological phenomenon is a weather event that can be explained by the principles of meteorology. Such events include:* Air mass* Anticyclone* Arctic cyclone* Clouds* Crow Instability* Derecho* Diamond dust* Drought* Dust devil* Dust storm...

 common in arid
Arid
A region is said to be arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or even preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life...

 and semi-arid
Semi-arid
A semi-arid climate or steppe climate describes climatic regions that receive precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not extremely...

 regions. Dust storms arise when a gust front or other strong wind blows loose sand and dirt
Dirt
Dirt is unclean matter, especially when in contact with a person's clothes, skin or possessions when they are said to become dirty. Common types of dirt include:* dust — a general powder of organic or mineral matter...

 from a dry surface. Particles are transported by saltation
Saltation (geology)
In geology, saltation is a specific type of particle transport by fluids such as wind or water. It occurs when loose material is removed from a bed and carried by the fluid, before being transported back to the surface...

 and suspension, causing soil to move from one place and deposition in another. The Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 and drylands around the Arabian peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 are the main terrestrial sources of airborne dust, with some contributions from Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 into the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

, and China's
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 significant storms deposit dust in the Pacific.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A dust / sand storm is a meteorological phenomenon
Meteorological phenomenon
A meteorological phenomenon is a weather event that can be explained by the principles of meteorology. Such events include:* Air mass* Anticyclone* Arctic cyclone* Clouds* Crow Instability* Derecho* Diamond dust* Drought* Dust devil* Dust storm...

 common in arid
Arid
A region is said to be arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or even preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life...

 and semi-arid
Semi-arid
A semi-arid climate or steppe climate describes climatic regions that receive precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not extremely...

 regions. Dust storms arise when a gust front or other strong wind blows loose sand and dirt
Dirt
Dirt is unclean matter, especially when in contact with a person's clothes, skin or possessions when they are said to become dirty. Common types of dirt include:* dust — a general powder of organic or mineral matter...

 from a dry surface. Particles are transported by saltation
Saltation (geology)
In geology, saltation is a specific type of particle transport by fluids such as wind or water. It occurs when loose material is removed from a bed and carried by the fluid, before being transported back to the surface...

 and suspension, causing soil to move from one place and deposition in another. The Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 and drylands around the Arabian peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 are the main terrestrial sources of airborne dust, with some contributions from Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 into the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

, and China's
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 significant storms deposit dust in the Pacific. It has been argued that recently, poor management of the Earth's drylands, such as neglecting the fallow system, are increasing dust storms from desert margins and changing both the local and global climate, and also impacting local economies.

The term sandstorm is used most often in the context of desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 sandstorms, especially in the Sahara, or places where sand is a more prevalent soil type than dirt or rock, when, in addition to fine particles obscuring visibility, a considerable amount of larger sand particles are blown closer to the surface. The term dust storm is more likely to be used when finer particles are blown long distances, especially when the dust storm affects urban area
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

s.

Causes



As the force of wind passing over loosely held particles increases, particles of sand first start to vibrate, then to saltate ("leap"). As they repeatedly strike the ground, they loosen and break off smaller particles of dust which then begin to travel in suspension. At wind speeds above that which causes the smallest to suspend, there will be a population of dust grains moving by a range of mechanisms: suspension, saltation and creep.

A recent study finds that the initial saltation of sand particles induces a static electric field by friction. Saltating sand acquires a negative charge relative to the ground which in turn loosens more sand particles which then begin saltating. This process has been found to double the number of particles predicted by previous theories.
Particles become loosely held mainly due to drought or arid conditions, and wind has varied causes. Gust fronts may be produced by the outflow of rain-cooled air from an intense thunderstorm, or they may represent a dry cold front
Cold front
A cold front is defined as the leading edge of a cooler mass of air, replacing a warmer mass of air.-Development of cold front:The cooler and denser air wedges under the less-dense warmer air, lifting it...

, that is, a cold front that is moving into a dry air mass and is producing no precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

. This is the type of dust storm which was common during the Dustbowl years in the U.S. Following the passage of a dry cold front, convective
Convection
Convection is the movement of molecules within fluids and rheids. It cannot take place in solids, since neither bulk current flows nor significant diffusion can take place in solids....

 instability resulting from cooler air riding over heated ground can maintain the dust storm initiated at the front. In desert areas, dust and sand storms are most commonly caused by either thunderstorm outflows, or by strong pressure gradients which cause an increase in wind velocity over a wide area. The vertical extent of the dust or sand that is raised is largely determined by the stability of the atmosphere above the ground as well as by the weight of the particulates. In some cases, dust and sand may be confined to a relatively shallow layer by a low-lying temperature inversion. In other instances, dust (but not sand) may be lifted as high as 20,000 feet (6,100 m) high.

Drought
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

 and wind
Wind
Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. In outer space, solar wind is the movement of gases or charged particles from the sun through space, while planetary wind is the outgassing of light chemical elements from a planet's atmosphere into space...

 contribute to the emergence of dust storms, as do poor farming and grazing practices by exposing the dust and sand to the wind.

Dryland farming
Dryland farming
Dryland farming is an agricultural technique for non-irrigated cultivation of drylands.-Locations:Dryland farming is used in the Great Plains, the Palouse plateau of Eastern Washington, and other arid regions of North America, the Middle East and in other grain growing regions such as the steppes...

 is also another cause of dust storms, since dryland farmers rely on rainfall to water their crops, they engage in practices to maintain moisture in the soil. Such practices include leaving a field fallow for a year after harvesting to allow the buildup of water to build in the soil and covering the field with dry earth in an attempt to seal in the underlying. These practices make dryland agriculture susceptible to dust storms. These methods are used by farmers in eastern Washington, an arid region.

Physical and environmental effects



A sandstorm can move whole sand dunes. Dust storms can carry large amounts of dust, so much so that the leading edge of one can appear as a solid wall of dust as much as 1.6 km (0.994196378639691 mi) high. Dust and sand storms which come off the Sahara Desert are locally known as a simoom
Simoom
Simoom is a strong, dry, dust-laden local wind that blows in the Sahara, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and the deserts of Arabian Peninsula. Alternative spellings include samiel, sameyel, samoon, samun, simoun, and simoon...

 or simoon (sîmūm, sîmūn). The haboob
Haboob
A haboob is a type of intense duststorm carried on an atmospheric gravity current. Haboobs are regularly observed in arid regions throughout the world. They have been observed in the Sahara desert , as well as across the Arabian Peninsula, throughout Kuwait, and in the most arid regions of Iraq...

(həbūb) is a sandstorm prevalent in the region of Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 around Khartoum
Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

; storms are very common around Khartoum
Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

 every summer. When it happens you can't see anything but a wall of sand covering your view.

The Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 desert is a key source of dust storms, particularly the Bodélé Depression
Bodélé Depression
The Bodélé Depression , located at the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in north central Africa, is the lowest point in Chad. Dust storms from the Bodélé Depression occur on average about 100 days per year , one typical example being the massive dust storms that swept over West Africa and the...

 and an area covering the confluence of Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

, Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

, and Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

.

Saharan dust storms have increased approximately 10-fold during the half-century since the 1950s, causing topsoil loss in Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

, Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

, northern Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, and Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

. In Mauritania there were just two dust storms a year in the early 1960s, but there are about 80 a year today, according to Andrew Goudie, a professor of geography at Oxford University. Levels of Saharan dust coming off the east coast of Africa in June (2007) were five times those observed in June 2006, and were the highest observed since at least 1999, which may cool Atlantic waters enough to slightly reduce hurricane activity in late 2007.

Dust storms have also been shown to increase the spread of disease across the globe. Virus spores in the ground are blown into the atmosphere by the storms with the minute particles then acting like urban smog or acid rain.
Prolonged and unprotected exposure of the respiratory system in a dust storm can also cause Silicosis
Silicosis
Silicosis, also known as Potter's rot, is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust, and is marked by inflammation and scarring in forms of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs...

 which, if left untreated, will lead to Asphyxia
Asphyxia
Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. An example of asphyxia is choking. Asphyxia causes generalized hypoxia, which primarily affects the tissues and organs...

tion. There is also the danger of keratoconjunctivitis sicca
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca , also called keratitis sicca, xerophthalmia or dry eye syndrome is an eye disease caused by eye dryness, which, in turn, is caused by either decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation. It is found in humans and some animals...

 ("dry eyes") which, in severe cases without immediate and proper treatment, can lead to blindness.

Economic impact


Dust storms cause soil loss from the dry lands, and worse, they preferentially remove organic matter and the nutrient-rich lightest particles, thereby reducing agricultural productivity. Also the abrasive effect of the storm damages young crop plants. Other effects that may impact the economy are: reduced visibility affecting aircraft and road transportation; reduced sunlight reaching the surface; increased cloud formation increasing the heat blanket effect; high level dust sometimes obscures the sun over Florida; effects on human health of breathing dust.

Dust can also have beneficial effects where it deposits: Central and South American rain forests get most of their mineral nutrients from the Sahara; iron-poor ocean regions get iron; and dust in Hawaii increases plantain
Plantain
Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana...

 growth. In northern China as well as the mid-western U.S., ancient dust storm deposits known as loess
Loess
Loess is an aeolian sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown silt, typically in the 20–50 micrometre size range, twenty percent or less clay and the balance equal parts sand and silt that are loosely cemented by calcium carbonate...

 are highly fertile soils, but they are also a significant source of contemporary dust storms when soil-securing vegetation is disturbed.

Extraterrestrial dust storms



See Mars Dust Storms.

Dust storms are not limited to Earth; see Mars Dust Storms
Climate of Mars
The climate of Mars has been an issue of scientific curiosity for centuries, not least because Mars is the only terrestrial planet whose surface can be directly observed in detail from the Earth....


Notable dust storms


  • ~524BC The 50,000 strong army of Cambyses II supposedly buried by a sandstorm en route to the Siwa Oasis
    Siwa Oasis
    The Siwa Oasis is an oasis in Egypt, located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, nearly 50 km east of the Libyan border, and 560 km from Cairo....

    .
  • 1930s: A series of dust storms displaced hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers in the central United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     and Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     during the Dust Bowl
    Dust Bowl
    The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936...

    .
  • 1934: Just one of many notable storms in the 1930s, the storm of 9–11 May 1934 began in the far north-western Great Plains and proceeded east over the northern tier of states and parts of Canada and was notable for removing the vast majority of the soil deposited since the last Ice Age over some parts of its path.
  • 1935: Another major dust bowl storm took place on April 14, which became known as Black Sunday
    Black Sunday (storm)
    Black Sunday was a particularly serious dust storm, or black blizzard, that took place during the Dust Bowl era on April 14, 1935.-Event:The storm began in the mid afternoon, presaged by thousands of birds fleeing before the rolling clouds of dirt...

    .
  • 1954-1991: The multi-year droughts in portions of North America of 1954-56, 1976–78, and 1987-91 were noted for dust storms of the intensity seen in the middle 1930s over some fraction of their coverage and timespan, and more sporadically during the times between. The three multi-year droughts were similar to the 1930s in storms being raised by synoptic scale weather events such as cyclones and cold fronts; otherwise the most common trigger is the outflow from convective activity, known as a haboob
    Haboob
    A haboob is a type of intense duststorm carried on an atmospheric gravity current. Haboobs are regularly observed in arid regions throughout the world. They have been observed in the Sahara desert , as well as across the Arabian Peninsula, throughout Kuwait, and in the most arid regions of Iraq...

    . Significant events of the latter variety occurred in Colorado and Kansas in May 2004 with winds to 100 mph, Minnesota and Wisconsin in June 2004 causing significant damage, and the upper Middle West in May 1988, notable for strong electrification and lightning activity and by one estimate reaching 30 000 ft or more. The first and third of this list reached black blizzard intensity, causing total blackout for some period ranging from 90 sec to 10 or more minutes, over some fraction of the ground covered. The 1987-91 drought was especially notable as in the 1930s for the large number of rain of mud events, often generated by dust in suspension and/or carried on upper-level winds.
  • 1971: A dust storm that occurred near Tucson, Arizona on July 16 was extensively documented by meteorologists.
  • 1983: 1983 Melbourne dust storm
    1983 Melbourne dust storm
    The 1983 Melbourne dust storm was a meteorological phenomenon that occurred during the afternoon of 8 February 1983, throughout much of Victoria, Australia and affected the capital, Melbourne. Red soil, dust and sand from Central and Southeastern Australia was swept up in high winds and carried...

    : On the afternoon of February 8 a huge dust storm originating in the Mallee
    The Mallee
    The Mallee is the most northwesterly district in the state of Victoria, and also encompasses the agricultural district of South Australia. Definitions vary, however all are based on the Victorian distribution of mallee eucalypts...

     region of Victoria
    Victoria (Australia)
    Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

    , Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     covered the city of Melbourne
    Melbourne
    Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

    .
  • 1997: On May 2, a sandstorm in Libya and Egypt killed 12 people.
  • 2007: On Saturday afternoon February 24, a large dust storm originating in the West Texas
    Texas
    Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

     area of Amarillo covered much of the North Texas
    North Texas
    North Texas is a distinct cultural and geographic area forming the central-northeastern section of the U.S. state of Texas. North Texas is generally considered to include the area south of Oklahoma, east of Abilene, and north of Waco...

     area. Strong winds caused extensive property damage
    Property damage
    Property damage is damage to or the destruction of public or private property, caused either by a person who is not its owner or by natural phenomena. Property damage caused by persons is generally categorized by its cause: neglect , and intentional damage...

     to fences, roof shingles, and some buildings. The DFW Airport was severely affected, causing extensive flight delays into and out of the DFW area. Area residents suffered respiratory problems and allergic reactions, causing many people to visit hospitals. This event was also marked by relative humidities down to 1 per cent, in one case the juxtaposition of a c. 70°F air temp and dew point of -20°F, in and around of the area affected.
  • 2007: In June, a large dust storm generated by Cyclone Yemyin
    Cyclone Yemyin
    Cyclone Yemyin was a deadly tropical cyclone that made landfalls on India and Pakistan. The Pakistan Meteorological Department referred to Tropical Cyclone 03B as "Tropical Cyclone Yemyin"...

     struck Karachi, Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

     and areas of the Sindh and lower Balochistan, followed by a series of heavy rainfalls which resulted in a death toll of nearly 200.
  • 2009: On February 11, a sandstorm in the Kingdom of Bahrain in Sakhir
    Sakhir
    Sakhir is a desert area located in the Kingdom of Bahrain, near Zallaq. It contains the Al-Sakhir Palace, built in 1870. In the past few years, it has seen many changes such as the creation of the University of Bahrain main campus, al-Areen Wildlife Park, and Bahrain International Circuit. In...

     halted Formula One
    Formula One
    Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

     testing for Ferrari
    Ferrari
    Ferrari S.p.A. is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Italy. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929, as Scuderia Ferrari, the company sponsored drivers and manufactured race cars before moving into production of street-legal vehicles as Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947...

    , BMW and Toyota.
  • 2009: 2009 Australian dust storm
    2009 Australian dust storm
    In 2009, a dust storm swept across the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland from 22 to 24 September. The capital, Canberra, experienced the dust storm on 22 September, and on 23 September the storm reached Sydney and Brisbane....

    : On September 23, a dust storm that started in South Australia
    South Australia
    South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

     and inland New South Wales
    New South Wales
    New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

    , Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    , blanketed New South Wales
    New South Wales
    New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

     with reddish orange skies. It stretched as far north as southern Queensland
    Queensland
    Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

    . and as far east as New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

  • 2010: 2010 China drought and dust storms
    2010 China drought and dust storms
    The 2010 China drought and dust storms were a series of severe droughts during the spring of 2010 that affected Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Sichuan, Shanxi, Henan, Shaanxi, Chongqing, Hebei and Gansu in the People's Republic of China as well as parts of Southeast Asia including Vietnam and Thailand,...

    : A sandstorm that started in Mongolia
    Mongolia
    Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

     blasted Beijing
    Beijing
    Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

     on March 20, and covered large areas of China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

     in the following days. Several countries in East Asia
    East Asia
    East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

     were affected. Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

    , Taiwan
    Taiwan
    Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

    , Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

     and South Korea
    South Korea
    The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

     recorded extremely poor visibility
    Visibility
    In meteorology, visibility is a measure of the distance at which an object or light can be clearly discerned. It is reported within surface weather observations and METAR code either in meters or statute miles, depending upon the country. Visibility affects all forms of traffic: roads, sailing...

     and air quality in an extremely rare level 5 hazardous rating. A number of residents reported health problems, while flights were canceled or delayed due to poor visibility
    Visibility
    In meteorology, visibility is a measure of the distance at which an object or light can be clearly discerned. It is reported within surface weather observations and METAR code either in meters or statute miles, depending upon the country. Visibility affects all forms of traffic: roads, sailing...

     caused by the sandstorm.
  • 2011: A major dust storm swept through the southern portion of the Desert Southwest U.S. State of Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

     on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. The dust storm was triggered from thunderstorms to the south of the Phoenix
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

     metropolitan area. Dust from the deserts were blown up by high winds. The winds were estimated to be over 60 miles per hour and caused low visibility. The storm went through the city of Phoenix a little after 7:00 p.m. local time. The event was captured and filmed by local media and was seen live on national television channels such as The Weather Channel
    The Weather Channel
    The Weather Channel is a US cable and satellite television network since May 2, 1982, that broadcasts weather forecasts and weather-related news, along with entertainment programming related to weather 24 hours a day...

    . Local flights in the area were delayed because of the storm. Power outages were also reported.

Gallery






See also

  • Abyssal Storm
  • Asian Dust
    Asian Dust
    Asian Dust is a seasonal meteorological phenomenon which affects much of East Asia sporadically during the springtime months...

  • Dust Bowl
    Dust Bowl
    The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936...

  • Fog
    Fog
    Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated...

  • Haboob
    Haboob
    A haboob is a type of intense duststorm carried on an atmospheric gravity current. Haboobs are regularly observed in arid regions throughout the world. They have been observed in the Sahara desert , as well as across the Arabian Peninsula, throughout Kuwait, and in the most arid regions of Iraq...

  • Sirocco
    Sirocco
    Sirocco, scirocco, , jugo or, rarely, siroc is a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe. It is known in North Africa by the Arabic word qibli or ghibli Sirocco, scirocco, , jugo or, rarely, siroc is a Mediterranean wind...

  • Saharan Air Layer
    Saharan Air Layer
    The Saharan Air Layer is an intensely dry, warm and sometimes dust-laden layer of the atmosphere which often overlies the cooler, more-humid surface air of the Atlantic Ocean. In the Sahara Desert region of North Africa, where it originates, it is the prevalent atmosphere, extending from the...

  • Saharan dust
  • Shamal (wind)
    Shamal (wind)
    A shamal is a northwesterly wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf states , often strong during the day, but decreasing at night. This weather effect occurs anywhere from once to several times a year, mostly in summer but sometimes in winter...


External links