The Lodos winds and the Sahara

Dust from the Sahara Desert sweeps over the Mediterranean sea and into Turkey.

On February 1st 2015 Western Turkey and Greece experienced something quiet surreal, a strong south-westerly wind that was so strong that it produced large waves, damaged buildings and had many flights grounded in both countries. This wind which the local Turks call Lodos, literary meaning “southern wind” is a common occurrence and can happen as many as twenty times a year, sometimes with debilitating results.

Although it produces a great deal of turbulent waters in the Mediterranean and even in parts of the Black Sea it on occasion picks up dust from the Sahara desert in Africa. This dust is often carried as far north as Southern Ukraine and is very mineral rich. Although the minerals have been stated to be very beneficial to plant life in the area, prolonged exposure to humans can cause headaches, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. At its hight the dust cloud can cripple urban centres as visibility drops to near blinding and all major transport is halted, this includes planes, trains, cars and even sea vessels. At times the Bosphorus Strait is even closed off till the winds and dust subside.

The below images captured by the MODIS instrument on board the Aqua satellite showing the extent of the dust stretching across the Mediterranean Sea and over Greece and Turkey.

The dust cloud can be clearly seen here over the Mediterranean Sea. Image courtesy of NASA.

 

The dust cloud highlighted in shades of orange. Image courtesy of NASA.

More images of the event can be seen on NASA’s Worldview website here.

If you would like to know more about Scantherma’s remote sensing services you can drop by our Perth office where one of our technicians will be glad to assist, or alternatively you can visit the remote sensing section of our website here.