How dust from the Saharan Desert can impact tropical activity

(Courtesy: NOAA)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Early September is normally the peak time for hurricane season. This past week we had two tropical systems form: Dorian and Erin. One of the main ingredients for tropical systems to continue to strengthen is warm, moist air. This allows air to rapidly rise and strengthen a tropical system.

This past Tuesday through, the GOES-East Satellite picked up one of the largest plumes of Sahara Dust this summer. That dust that blows from the Sahara Desert via the jet stream creates a stable layer of dry air that sinks. This can inhibit tropical systems from spinning as much or increasing in intensity.

Normally, these large plumes of dust peak in the middle of July, but a late dust storm like this could impact tropical systems moving forward.