NWD/Hurricanes/What is a dust storm?
Hurricanes Oct.12.2020

What is a dust storm?

what is a dust storm

A dust storm is a rather dangerous and unpleasant phenomenon in which large masses of dust (sand, soil) are lifted by the wind from the ground surface and move on a height of several meters. In some cases, the height can reach a kilometer or even more. From the outside, it looks like a wall of dust and sand is moving at you.

Sometimes it is also called a Sand Storm. It happens because a storm is a strong wind, and the sandstorm is one of the types of storms. You need to understand this.

Usually, after a dust storm (or even before it), there are particles of sand and dust in the air. They do not move anywhere but oscillate almost in one place, greatly impairing the view. This phenomenon is called dusty mist (or sandy mist).

What causes dust storms, and how do dust storms form?

Dry soil and strong wind (usually from 10 m/s or more) are two sufficient factors for a dust storm. The wind lifts loose particles of sand, dust, soil from the ground, which form a dust storm.

Dust storm causes

  • The decrease in visibility, which greatly affects the movement of planes or motor vehicles.
  • Difficulty in the breathing of living creatures.
  • Damage to plants (up to their destruction).
  • Destruction of the fertile soil layer.
  • The decrease in the amount of sunlight reaching the planet’s surface.

Where do dust storms occur?

what causes dust storms

The largest number of dust storms is observed in the Sahara desert. Interestingly, previously they were not too frequent in that area, but since the middle of the last century, their number has increased tenfold! They were observed ten times a year before, but now hundreds of storms a year do not surprise anyone.

Sandstorms are a frequent phenomenon, and they are dangerous. Sometimes their strength reaches such a degree that the phenomenon can change the topography of the planet, for example, by moving the dunes in the deserts. Although, to be fair, not only they change the topography, but also some other phenomena. For example, the sand vortex, they are also called dust devils.

Ways to fight

dust storm causes

All methods of fighting against sandstorms are aimed at preventing them or reducing their strength. Namely:

  • Creating forest bands that reduce wind speed.
  • Stubble (this is when the lower part of the crop is left after the harvest). It fixes the soil in this way.
  • Fix the soil with zero-tillage (a type of land cultivation in which layers of land do not turn over and the remnants of crops remain on the surface).
  • Planting crops in such a way that they alternate with strips of perennial grass.

Use this dust storm information to take countermeasures and reduce damage or prevent it altogether.

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