Bad news: Sahara sand on the snow


Von meteomorris an 31 Oktober 2018 · 3

It is snowing heavily in the Alps since Saturday. Especially in the southern Alps it has snowed heavily in the high alpine thanks to a southern current. The first snow was whiter than white, but Sahara sand mixed into the snow during the dump of Monday. The satellite picture below shows how Sahara sand is picked up by a strong southern wind and is pushed against the south side of the Alps via the north of Africa and the Mediterranean Sea.

Sand on its way to the Alps
Sand on its way to the Alps

Check out the picture in detail here yourself. At first the sand could not be seen on the snow cover because of the clouds, but the sun came out this morning and the sand became visible on the webcams.

Santa Caterina (I)
Santa Caterina (I)

Stelvio (i)
Stelvio (i)

Sulden am Ortler (I)
Sulden am Ortler (I)

Mölltaler Gletscher
Mölltaler Gletscher

Mölltaler Gletscher
Mölltaler Gletscher

Anyone who has followed Mountain Academy knows that Sahara sand can serve as a weak layer or a sliding layer for avalanches in case of new snowfall. (Check out Mountain Academy and ride with more knowledge). Not that there are many avalanche victims known as a result of Sahara sand, but it is a potential sliding layer. In addition, polluted snow does not have the reflective characteristics that a white snow cover has. Because of the Sahara sand, the snow cover is now more sensitive to the sun's radiation and will melt faster than white snow cover. Two annoying messages in short. Below again in detail the sand that finds its way from the Sahara to the Alps.

Where exactly has sand from the Sahara come down with the snow?

That is pretty hard to find out. Many ski areas are still closed and most avalanche services are still in sleep mode. But with the help of the webcams there is a reasonable picture of where sand has come down. It seems that the higher alpine in and south of the main alpine ridge from the Ortler area to the Mölltaler glacier have to deal with this problem. See the map below for the region where Sahara sand was found in the snow. If you find webcam images with Sahara sand in the snow, post them below. Thanks!

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Kommentare


  • scottthedog999
    Expert
    scottthedog999 op 31 Oktober 2018 · 19:16
    what's the issue with the sand. Just aesthetic or is there another problem?
  • meteomorris
    Expert
    meteomorris op 1 November 2018 · 15:22
    @scottthedog999 "Anyone who has followed Mountain Academy knows that Sahara sand can serve as a weak layer or a sliding layer for avalanches in case of new snowfall. Not that there are many avalanche victims known as a result of Sahara sand, but it is a potential sliding layer. In addition, polluted snow does not have the reflective characteristics that a white snow cover has. Because of the Sahara sand, the snow cover is now more sensitive to the sun's radiation and will melt faster than white snow cover. Two annoying messages in short. Below again in detail the sand that finds its way from the Sahara to the Alps."
    May the powder be with you.
  • scottthedog999
    Expert
    scottthedog999 op 2 November 2018 · 23:46
    thanks

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