Dust event of 21st April 2024, monitored by the Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory (CAO) of CARE-C

The recent dust event sweeping across Central and Eastern Europe has made its presence felt in Cyprus, underscoring the widespread impact of this atmospheric phenomenon. Originating from Libya, the event reached the shores of Cyprus on April 21st, blanketing the island in a haze of dust.

Research scientists of the Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory (CAO), at CARE-C of the Cyprus Institute, have been closely monitoring this event in real-time, using state-of-the-art remote sensing technology, including a sunphotometer for Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) measurements and lidar for detecting backscatter from aerosols. The AOD levels have reached extreme values >0.8 highlighting the intensity of the event. The lidar observations show how the dust layer is extended from ground level up to ~7km in the beginning of the event.

When there is a dust episode alert, the Cyprus Ministry of Health advises citizens, especially vulnerable groups, to limit their movements to open spaces, where they are more exposed to dust. People who play sports are advised to limit their sport activities to indoor areas. People with asthma and respiratory problems may need more frequent inhalations of respiratory medication. Finally, wearing a mask may reduce exposure to dust particles.

This event is expected to subside by Saturday 27, April 2024.

Figure 1 – Total atmospheric backscatter signal (top) and VDR (bottom) at 532 nm from a lidar operated by CAO in Nicosia

Figure 2 – AOD observations from a sunphotometer operated by CAO in Agia Marina Xyliatou, Nicosia

Figure 3 – Satellite image showing dust presence in the Easter Mediterranean from 24/04/2024 at 04:00 UTC (Source: EUMETSAT)