The Saharan dust plume that has blanketed southern and central Europe in recent days has caused a sharp rise in air pollution across the region, researchers said Tuesday.
The European Commission’s Copernicus satellite monitoring program said levels of particles measured smaller than 10 micrometers – called PM10 – surged in cities such as Barcelona, Lyon and Marseille on Sunday.
The fine sand clouds blowing north from Algeria paint the sky red and mix with fresh snowfall in the Alps and Pyrenees, making the slopes appear orange.
Although PM10 particles can enter the lungs, causing difficulty breathing, asthma attacks and other health problems, Saharan dust concentrations do not reach levels considered dangerous.
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