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Learn about the phenomenon of snow turning orange in Europe.  look at the pictures

Learn about the phenomenon of snow turning orange in Europe. look at the pictures

A view of the Alps covered in desert dust in Puy-Saint-André, France. The Sirocco wind is a violent wind coming from the Sahara desert that causes dust to rise from North Africa towards Europe, creating dust deposits on the snow. | Thibaut Durand/Hans Lukas/AFP/Metsul Meteorological

An extremely rare haze of Saharan dust blanketed Switzerland and southeastern France this weekend, prompting public health warnings and staining the sky yellow. The dust turned the snow orange in the Alps. The phenomenon, which began on Friday in Switzerland, brings with it “a very clear deterioration in sunlight and visibility.” Added to this is an increase in fine particle concentrations,” the weather service MeteoSuisse posted on X.

With dust concentrated below 3,000 metres, air quality was particularly affected, with air quality monitoring indicating high levels of particulate matter in the atmosphere. Roman Broglie, a meteorologist at SRF Meteo, said calculations estimate that the amount of dust reached about 180,000 tons, double the levels recorded during recent similar events.

In neighboring France, local authorities in the southeast and south announced that the maximum air pollution limit had been exceeded on Saturday, with the Hérault administration asking residents to avoid intense physical exertion, especially those with heart or respiratory problems.

The cloud of desert dust turned snowy orange in the mountains and in ski resorts in Italy, France and Switzerland, especially in the Alps. Although it is a natural phenomenon that actually occurred, this episode was more severe than the previous ones.

The Sahara desert emits between 60 and 200 million tons of mineral dust annually. While larger particles quickly return to Earth, smaller particles can travel thousands of kilometres. Winds called Circo transport particles from the Sahara to the European continent.

Sand gives snow an orange color and can affect melting processes, particularly in glaciers, which shrink as average temperatures rise, reducing the ice's ability to reflect sunlight. The situation improved in France and Switzerland on Sunday.

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