Saharan Dust Cloud Strikes United States | The Institute for Creation Research

Saharan Dust Cloud Strikes United States
Recently, the southeastern United States was hit by a huge cloud of dust from the Sahara desert that drifted across the Atlantic Ocean. A second such cloud arrived soon after.1,2

These Saharan dust clouds are actually quite common, but this plume is one of the most extreme ever recorded.3

Unfortunately, these dust clouds have the potential to irritate peoples’ respiratory systems, and some locations have seen dramatic decreases in air quality. Experts recommend that people with chronic lung conditions should stay inside, keep their windows and doors closed, and should run their air conditioning units, but with the fresh-air intake closed.4

On the bright side, however, experts think that these dust clouds can inhibit hurricane formation. They also produce spectacular sunsets for reasons explained below.3

This dust causes the sky to have a whitish haze for a similar reason that molecules in the atmosphere cause the sky to appear blue.5 Light from the sun is basically white in color, as you can verify by looking at photographs showing the sun taken from the International Space Station. This white light is composed of all the colors of the visible spectrum. For simplicity, you can think of white light as being composed of equal parts of red, blue, and green light. The blue light has a shorter wavelength than the green light, while the red light has the longest wavelength of all. Molecules in the atmosphere (mainly nitrogen and oxygen) scatter all the colors, but they preferentially scatter blue light the most.

By the way, this is also the reason the noonday sun appears yellow. Subtracting blue light from the sun’s white light leaves behind red and green light to reach your eyes directly. Since red and green light make yellow light, your eyes perceive the sun as being yellow in color. (Of course, you should never look directly at the sun without appropriate protective gear.)

Sunsets and sunrises appear reddish in color because at dawn and dusk, light from the sun has to travel through a greater thickness of atmosphere to reach your eyes than when the sun is high in the sky. For this reason, more of the green light is also scattered in addition to the blue, and the remaining red light directly reaches your eyes, giving the sunset its reddish tint.

Pollutants in the air enhance this effect, which is why dust storms like the recent one from the Sahara are accompanied by brilliant, beautiful sunsets. As the Scriptures say, “You [the Lord] make the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice.”6

References
1. Madani, D. Massive Sahara Desert dust cloud reaches America’s south. NBC News. Posted on nbcnews.com June 27, 2020, accessed June 29, 2020.
2. Dolce, C. Another Round of Saharan Dust is Headed for the U.S. Gulf Coast This Week. The Weather Channel. Posted on weather.com June 29, 2020, accessed June 29, 2020.
3. Harvey, C. Saharan Dust Plume Slams U.S., Kicking Up Climate Questions. Scientific American. Posted on scientificamerican.com June 26, 2020, accessed June 29, 2020.
4. McCleary, K. Georgia officials warn of potential health problems linked to Saharan dust cloud. CNN. Posted on cnn.com June 28, 2020, accessed June 29, 2020.
5. Hewitt, P. G. Conceptual Physics, 10th ed. San Francisco, CA: Pearson, 521-524.
6. Psalm 65:8.

*Dr. Jake Hebert is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas.
The Latest
NEWS
Moroccan Dinosaurs in Marine Rocks, Too
Two recent papers by paleontologist Nicholas Longrich and his colleagues describe some unexpected findings in phosphate mines of northern Morocco.1,2...

CREATION PODCAST
Ernst Haeckel: Evolutionary Huckster | The Creation Podcast:...
Ernst Haeckel, a German Zoologist, is famous for developing a series of images of embryos in development called Anthropogenie. These images,...

NEWS
Bees Master Complex Tasks Through Social Interaction
Bees are simply incredible.1,2 These little furry fliers challenge the very foundation of Darwinism in many diverse ways. Bees have been...

NEWS
The Tail of Man’s Supposed Ancestors
Although it has been known for decades and despite insistence to the contrary from the evolutionary community, man—Homo sapiens—has never...

NEWS
When Day Meets Night—A Total Success!
The skies cleared above North Texas on Monday, April 8, for a spectacular view of the 2024 Great American Solar Eclipse. Hundreds of guests joined...

NEWS
The Sun and Moon—Designed for Eclipses
Before discovering thousands of planets in other solar systems, scientists tended to assume that other solar systems would be very similar to our own....

NEWS
Let ICR Help You Prepare for the Great American Solar Eclipse!
On Monday, April 8th, the moon will move directly between the earth and the sun, resulting in a total solar eclipse visible in northern Mexico, much...

NEWS
Total Eclipse on April 8th
“You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that...

CREATION PODCAST
Dismantling Evolution One Gear At A Time! | The Creation Podcast:...
The human body is a marvel of complexity and the more we learn about it, the more miraculous our existence becomes! Can evolution explain the...

NEWS
April 2024 ICR Wallpaper
"He appointed the moon for seasons; The sun knows its going down." (Psalm 104:19 NKJV) ICR April 2024 wallpaper is now available...