Haze over Mallorca caused by dust from the Sahara. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


May is drawing to a close and temperatures are starting to rise in the Balearics as we head into summer.

The Aemet met office today announced that temperatures in the Balearics could reach 35ºC tomorrow but warned of the possible arrival of suspended dust from the Sahara desert on Thursday and Friday, which could cause haze, cloudy skies and reduced visibility and air quality.

However, for the moment, no mud rain is being forecast. But the Saharan dust has caused various problems this year.

While it is quite usual during February and March, the intense haze caused by the entry of suspended dust from the Sahara back in March was "the most severe" both in terms of geographical extent and intensity for the past ten years, according to the head of development studies and technical director of the Barcelona Dust Regional Centre of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Ernest Werner.

He said that last year there was a similar case of Saharan dust of "similar" intensity, but for a shorter period and it did not affect the whole of the country.

With regards to the influence of climate change on this phenomenon known colloquially as calima, Werner said that the relationship is not clear, but what is certain is that the arrival of suspended dust depends on the source of origin and, in this case, the Sahara has increased its extension by 10 percent over the last century. "If the source of active dust is larger, there is greater potential," he said.

"This is an intense event, but this type of event typically occurs once or twice a year, normally in February or March, when a low-pressure system over Algeria and Tunisia gathers up dust and carries it north to Europe.