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The sky looks like Armageddon over a quarter of the Earth -- here's why

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Massive Saharan dust storm is blanketing Earth from Turkey to Texas.

A massive dust storm has blown out of the Sahara and is blanketing Earth from Turkey to Texas.

Saharan dust crosses the Atlantic to fertilize the Amazon. It can also blow as far north as the southern USA.

Saharan dust crosses the Atlantic to fertilize the Amazon. It can also blow as far north as the southern USA.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
7/19/2018 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Saharan, dust, storm, massive, Texas, Turkey, Greece, Cancun

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A massive dust storm kicked up by strong thunderstorms in the Sahara, is wrapping its way around the globe. The dust has blanketed places as far east as Turkey and as far west as Texas and Cancun. 

Greece has been especially hard-hit with dust turning skies from orange to red, and closing airports. As far away as Dallas, the choking dust has hampered outdoor activities, especially combined with summer, southwestern heat. In the resort town of Cancun, the skies have become hazy. 

Such storms occur regularly but can create unsettling sights for people in Africa and in Southern Europe. In North Africa, where the storms originate, the dust can be deadly. The blowing dust can sandblast exposed surfaces, from paint to skin. It likewise kills crops. If the dust gets into lungs, it can cause choking and even suffocation. The dust can also bury structures. Soil loss is a major problem caused by these storms, and it can ruin farms. 

The dust can be blown miles into the sky, with much of it floating about four miles up. From there the dust serves as an aerosol, blocking sunlight from reaching the water below. This has a cooling effect on the water and the Earth in general. It hampers the formation of convection cells, which are required for tropical storms. This isn't entirely bad, since it means fewer hurricanes. 

In the American South, the iron-rich dust settles and aids in fertilizing the soil. But it can also be a health hazard for people with breathing trouble. The dust does not turn the sky red, but it can form a brown haze that lingers in the still summer heat. 

The dust from large storms can coat much of the Earth. Like the American south, Central and South American rainforests are also fertilized by these storms. 

For some people, these storms do bring Armageddon, in the form of disaster, destroying property, crops, and making people sick. For others, the storms bring Armageddon in the form of renewal, which is another meaning of the word. For what brings disaster to one place, brings life to another. 

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