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
Stasis and More Stasis in Living Fossils
Living fossils have been a challenge to evolutionists ever since Darwin coined the phrase in 1859.1,2 They are members of a living species...

NEWS
Scaly Skin on a Feathered Dinosaur?
Fossil experts from University College Cork in Ireland took stunning images of Psittacosaurus skin. The dinosaurs’ belly shows patches of skin...

NEWS
Florida Fossil Shows Porcupines Have Always Been Porcupines
The porcupine is an animal (rodent) that one does not soon forget. It is armed with formidable quills that deter even the hungriest predators. What...

NEWS
Webb Telescope Discovers Another Record-Breaking Galaxy
Astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope have recently confirmed that two galaxies are extremely distant, with one becoming the new record holder...

CREATION PODCAST
The Power of Film & Video: Reaching All Ages with Truth | The...
Is there a place for the use of film and video within Christianity? If so, how can we leverage this powerful tool to reach viewers of all ages...

NEWS
New Titanosaur Species Discovered in Uruguay and Argentina
The pre-Flood world had some truly massive dinosaurs, and the largest of them were in the group Sauropodomorpha.1 Within this group were...

NEWS
T. rex Not as Smart as Thought
Have movies and most conventional paleontologists got it all wrong? T. rex and other theropod dinosaurs (the meat-eaters) are often portrayed as intelligent...

NEWS
June 2024 ICR Wallpaper
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV) ICR June...

NEWS
A “Just-so” Story About Ancient Genes
An evolutionary website recently published “a groundbreaking study” that supposedly identifies a basic, uncomplicated, “simple”...

CREATION PODCAST
Dinosaurs with Bird Brains??? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Evolutionists claim that birds are descended from dinosaurs. A feature that is often cited as linking these two types of creatures is the brain....