Researchers say levels of harmful particles increased in some cities in southern and central Europe.
A plume of Sahara dust has caused a sharp rise in air pollution in parts of southern and central Europe, researchers have said.
The huge cloud of fine sand moving northward from Algeria has blanketed the region, turning skies red in Stuttgart in Germany and leaving slopes of the Alps and Pyrenees looking orange.
The European Commission’s Copernicus satellite monitoring programme said levels of particles smaller than 10 micrometres, which are better known as PM10s, increased in cities such as Barcelona, Lyon and Marseille on Sunday.
While PM10 particles can cause breathing difficulties, asthma attacks and heart problems if inhaled, the concentration of dust did not reach harmful levels.
NASA observed another large Sahara dust plume over the Atlantic, in June last year, which showed it had spread over 2,000 miles (3,200km).
According to NASA’s website, “hundreds of millions of tons of dust are picked up from the deserts of Africa and blown across the Atlantic Ocean each year”.
It added: “That dust helps build beaches in the Caribbean and fertilizes soils in the Amazon. It can also affect air quality in North and South America.”
By : Jess Sharp – SKY News