examine, printed final November within the journal JGR: Atmospheres, suggests extra mud has been transported out of the Sahara within the final 100 years than in centuries previous. The examine additionally means that durations of drought in North Africa, particularly within the Sahel area south of the Sahara, are linked to stronger mud occasions.

If these sorts of droughts occur extra often sooner or later, then scientists may count on Saharan mud occasions to accentuate. Nevertheless it’s not clear whether or not that would be the case.

Local weather projections for the Sahel area are notoriously unsure, particularly in relation to predictions about precipitation. Fashions have indicated that the area could expertise each a rise in intense droughts and a rise in heavy rainfall occasions.

Nonetheless different research have instructed that Saharan mud occasions could lower sooner or later because of solely various factors. One 2016 examine printed in Nature, for example, instructed altering wind patterns could lower the transport of mud out of Africa.

Analysis has additionally linked Saharan mud plumes to numerous different pure local weather variables, resembling El Niño occasions. A few of these local weather variables may change because the world continues to heat, in ways in which scientists are nonetheless investigating.

So for now, the way forward for Saharan mud plumes stays unclear.

Nonetheless, this week’s large occasion could have drawn extra consideration to the query — or, on the very least, to the phenomenon of mud plumes on the whole.

“It is gratifying in my late years, after 50-plus years of doing this, most of which period nobody cared significantly about mud, and now, unexpectedly, persons are enthusiastic about mud,” Prospero mentioned.

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E Information. E&E gives day by day protection of important power and environmental information at www.eenews.web.