The dust from the Sahara desert, which impacted Cuba and Miami, also affects the sky of the paradisiacal Mexican peninsula of Yucatan and, according to one expert, the gigantic cloud of the African continent could propitiate the reproduction of sargassum, an unpleasant algae that damages the beaches in the area.
The dry air mass with sand particles originated in the largest desert on the planet, is seen this Thursday as a thick gray cloud on the horizon over the turquoise sea of Cancun.
This region of the Mexican coast is one of the main tourist destinations in Mexico that tries to recover from the economic blow caused by the suspension of non-essential activities by the coronavirus pandemic, prolonged for 11 weeks.
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Before the arrival of African powders, the Quintana Roo Health Secretariat recommended the use of wet masks or scarves to cover the nose and mouth, mainly for people with chronic respiratory diseases, older adults, children and pregnant women.
Fabián Vázquez, of the National Meteorological Service, declared to the press that unlike other years, it is “a fairly dense dust cloud, which is what is striking. There are many particles, both minerals, aerosols, in general”.
A contribution to sargassum
Brigitta I. van Tussenbroek, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico told the AFP agency that sargassum, which for 5 years has covered large areas of the beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula, needs, in addition to light and temperature, nutrients to flourish in the sea, or its growth rate is much lower.
“The area through which the powders of the Sahara pass corresponds precisely to the region where we think that sargassum originates, on the southern equatorial axis. This dust contributes phosphorus and iron, which are very limited elements in the sea. We know that they are elements that are limited and there is a cloud that is providing it, “said the academic.
The phenomenon creates a mass of hot, dry air that, although it raises thermometers, counteracts the formation of tropical cyclones. This supposes, in addition to a feeling of great heat, a decrease in rainfall.
Sargassum has contaminated beaches since 2018 with its unpleasant odor and appearance. Faced with this problem, the Mexican government and businessmen periodically organize cleaning brigades to eliminate it from the coast.