Dust and volcanic ash meet over Cyprus

Dust over Cyprus is not a new thing. However, transported dust from nearby deserts, such as the Sahara and the Middle East is becoming a more frequent and intense phenomenon. This can be attributed to desertification and human-land use changes. During May 2023, the dust load was particularly high in the atmosphere over the island. PM10 values, (which refer to particles that are small enough to be inhalable and can induce adverse health effects), were almost 4 times higher than the daily limit set by EU as safe for human health (50μg/m3). Meanwhile the dust was extending from the ground and up to 5km, covering in this way even the highest parts of the island (Troodos mountain- height of 2km).

However, dust was not the only type of aerosol observed over Cyprus. A volcanic plume from the latest eruption of Etna in Sicily, Italy, on 22/05/2023 reached Cyprus on 23/05/2023. This event was detected by the CARE-C researchers, using state-of-the-art lidar operated by Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory of the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia. On 23/05/2023, dust was observed from the ground and up to 5km whilst the volcanic ash plume was visible from 16:00 until 24:00 EET time at around 10km.