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Atmospheric Wonders


Even more strikingly colorful Sanibel sunsets may soon be on their way!

A layer of Saharan dust is currently continuing its nearly 5,000-mile trek westward from the coast of Africa.

While it is common for Saharan dust to move across the Atlantic Ocean several times each year, experts are describing this particular plume of atmospheric dust particles as “unusually large in both size and density.”

“Amazing how large an area it covers!” wrote astronaut Col. Doug Hurley on Twitter, as he posted the photo above from space earlier this week.

While officials cannot pinpoint why this plume is larger and more dense, they agree that it should lead to more spectacular sunsets.

Vivid sunsets are often caused when solar light scatters off the atmospheric dust particles, highlighting orange and red colors seen on the visible light spectrum, National Weather Service meteorologists said.

For those lucky enough to be on Sanibel Island this week, be sure to catch the sunset each evening.  We recommend it any time of year, of course, but especially now!


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