Wednesday, April 2

Coincidence Of How The Sahara Desert Swamps Cornwall With Sand And Pollution


Over the weekend my son and daughter-in-law said that their cars had both been covered with some sort of sand. Their vehicles are mostly kept on their driveway overnight.

Most odd, but it seems - at least according to the Cornishman website - that the sand is all down to a 'coincidence'. They write:

"A coincidence of climatic and meteorological influences has led to Saharan sand being transported across Africa, the Mediterranean and mainland Europe and then being deposited on Cornwall."

Experts say a sandstorm over Algeria last week saw sand launched high into the atmosphere.

The Sahara is one of the largest deserts in the world – almost as big as China or the United States – and is often battered by strong winds.

With the wind currently arriving here from the south/south-east, the conditions were in place to carry that sand over Cornwall.

And then the light persistent rain of yesterday brought it down to earth.

When that rain dried it left the sand as a visible residue on cars across Cornwall."

Huh! As if we haven't got enough of our own Cornish sand!

But it's not all over. Today the Independent gave out this warning:

"Very high levels of air pollution over the next few days are prompting health concerns for vulnerable and elderly people, as the dust from the Saharan desert and winds combined to create a potentially 'toxic' storm."

Dr Helen Dacre, a meteorologist at the University of Reading, also agrees about the dangers:

"High air pollution levels can cause unpleasant and dangerous effects on health, both long and short term.

Toxic gases, such as nitrogen dioxide and ozone, as well as fine dust particles in the air blown in from the Sahara and from burning fossil fuels, all contribute to cause problems for people with heart, lung and breathing problems, such as asthma.

The problem is likely to be particularly bad today [Wednesday] because weather conditions have conspired to create a 'perfect storm' for air pollution."

And that's it for today from a polluted Cornwall. Though, to be honest, we've been out and about walking and haven't noticed any problems. The image at the top of the post is therefore a tad over the top! But, there again, so are many newspaper stories.

Other Recent Posts:
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Discovering Old Cornwall - 1
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  1. Anonymous18:34

    Huh! U should see our cars here in Athens, Greece. We have this problem very often, especially during summer. These past days everything is covered with a film of whitish sand. Our balcony is white and my flowers are covered with a light coat of sand. We are expecting more to come as hot weather comes up. Makes it hard to breathe. Lina

    1. Wonder where your sand comes from: local or from another country area?

    2. Anonymous18:51

      From Sahara. African dust, they say. Dont forget, Greece is right opposite Africa, so we get our fair share of sand from there.

    3. The Sahara has a lot to answer for! Our sand and pollution has now gone, thanks to a change in the wind direction. Can't remember it ever happening before.

    4. Anonymous19:05

      It sure has a lot to answer for! Last year I remember some days had a yellowish colour, the sun was dim and the air heavy with sand. TV and radio mentioned that people with heart or respiratory problems must stay indoors, which I had to comply with, I, having heart problems and my mom respiratory ones. Being summer with very high temperature, imagine what it was like to have all the doors and windows firmly closed and airconditions working full blast all day long! That carried on for approx. 5 days, then we had it on/of until October. Pure hell.

    5. We've never had this before must be awful if it happens to you regularly - especially in the sunshine. I went to Athens a few years back - great place,

  2. I'll bet this song is getting a bit airtime on Cornish radio stations right now then - Toto - Africa .-)

    It must feel like being in a giant hour-glass with the sand slowly trickling down overhead.Maybe it's a sign to make the most of our time. "Like the sand through the hour-glass,so are the days of our lives".
    Where have I heard that before ? :-)

    1. Thanks for the Toto link! Actually the winds have changed direction and it's London that is currently full of smog and polluted air. And the forecast is that the winds will change tomorrow again and the UK will then be smog free again.

      Makes you think though, as well as the Sahara sand it's said that we were also getting pollution from across mainland Europe.

      So the sand will be gone ... time will have stopped?

  3. Suzie16:22

    Didn't realise this was in Cornwall. It's quite bad in London where I had to go today.

    1. I saw the London photos online, looked quite grim.

  4. Not sure how they can refer to this as coincidence!?

    1. I suppose because it was several conditions coming together all at once. To my knowledge the sand hasn't happened previously.