How the cloud of ‘swallowed’ dust formed inside Sao Paulo

How the cloud of 'swallowed' dust formed inside Sao Paulo

A large cloud of red dust was observed in the interior of Sao Paulo on Sunday (26/9)

Photo: Reconstruction / Twitter / BBC News Brazil

A large amount of dust accumulated due to a long period of time without rain and constant burning. Strong storm. Winds can reach speeds of up to 95 kilometers per hour.

As a result, a cloud of red dust “swallowed up” cities in the interior of the state of Sao Paulo, such as Riberio Preto and Franka, causing panic and anarchy.

According to meteorologist Carin Gamma, from the climatic, this phenomenon is not unprecedented, it happens regularly, but this time it happened more widely and had a huge impact due to social networks.

“What has happened is that the northern part of the state of S പോo Paulo, the central strip and much of central Brazil is going through a long drought (lack of rain). There was no rain in the north, and the dust affected the cloud for three months, “he explained.

“This made the soil very dry. At the same time, we know that the number of fires has increased and is still very high in many parts of the country. Finally, the air humidity was very low.”

“So, on Sunday (26/9), we had a strong hurricane approaching the region. It’s a normal rain storm.

“As this strong storm approached a very dry and three-month drought, we had a strong wind, and this intense wind lifted the dust particles that were on the ground due to the fire.

“This wind, up to 95 km per hour, suspended all dust from open areas, urban centers and nearby farmland, favoring the formation of a red dust cloud in front of a storm cloud.”

According to Gamma, this is the reason why the population saw a cloud in “red and orange” tones.

“We only saw these tones because of the dust, but if it weren’t for that, we would see areas of instability that we normally see when approaching a blue-gray tone,” he points out.

According to Gamma, this cloud usually causes a lack of visibility.

“It’s a very dense cloud; that’s why drivers can’t see a handful of the videos we share on social media.”

Climate change?

But was the giant red dust cloud the result of climate change?

Gamma says the association is not straightforward.

According to the meteorologist, dust clouds and other phenomena such as sandstorms are “common in arid and semi-arid regions of the world, such as deserts”.

“So, this is not a completely different phenomenon, man – made. It’s a natural phenomenon in arid and semi – arid regions.”

“Brazil is a very large country in its territory. Also, the interior of the country is dry in winter, so dust storms are common.”

“Yesterday’s the biggest highlight. This cloud was so vast that it reached thousands of kilometers, but last year we had two dust clouds, one inside Sao Paulo, one in August and the other in November.”

“This is not something that is (directly) related to global warming, it is something that is normal,” he reinforces.

However, climate change is, in fact, altering the rainfall system in Brazil, reminiscent of gamma.

“Therefore, from a climatic point of view, in the interior of what we call central Brazil, droughts are natural, and there is no winter rain in this region.”

“What happens – and yes, it’s related to climate change – is that the increase in rainfall during the rainy season, i.e. spring and summer, is smaller, more late and less accumulation.”

Result: Decreased rainfall during the monsoon season dries out the soil in a short period of time, which helps in dissolving the fire and eventually accumulating dust.

“We’l been without rain for three months, usually four to five months, with little or more irregular rain. The soil dries out faster than it used to.

“On the other hand, if the soil is not dry, it is more difficult to catch fire. Therefore, if the rains occur naturally in the spring and summer and begin to decrease in the fall, there will be no such dry soil in the winter. We will not only land, but also deep.”

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