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Plume of Sahara desert dust caused spike in European air pollution, turned city skies 'orange'

The cloud of fine sand blown northward from Algeria tinted skies red and mixed with fresh snowfall in the Alps and Pyrenees, leaving slopes looking orange.

Published: 09th February 2021 03:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2021 03:43 PM   |  A+A-

Skiers wearing protective face mask ski as Sahara sand colours the snow and the sky in orange

Skiers wearing protective face mask ski as Sahara sand colours the snow and the sky in orange. (Photo | AP)

By Associated Press

BRUSSELS: A plume of Sahara dust that has blanketed parts of southern and central Europe in recent days caused a sharp rise in air pollution across the region, researchers said on Tuesday.

The European Commission's Copernicus satellite monitoring program said measured levels of particles smaller than 10 micrometres -- so-called PM10s -- spiked in cities such as Barcelona, Lyon and Marseille on Sunday.

The cloud of fine sand blown northward from Algeria tinted skies red and mixed with fresh snowfall in the Alps and Pyrenees, leaving slopes looking orange.

While PM10 particles can enter the lungs, causing breathing difficulties, asthma attacks and other health problems, the concentration of Sahara dust didn't reach levels considered harmful.



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