Footage from space has captured the massive scale of a Saharan dust storm battering the Atlantic Ocean.
The dust plume stretches 4,000 km (2,500 miles) from the coast of Mauritius in West Africa to Ireland.
Images of the storm were captured by Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation satellite.
The Copernicus atmosphere monitoring service (Cams) predicted that the dust would recirculate towards northwestern Europe and the North Sea in the coming days.
The dust could reach Iceland nearly 5,000 miles away, forecasters said.
Last year, a Saharan dust storm that crossed the Mediterranean Sea impacted air quality in southern European cities, including Barcelona and Marseille.
The US government agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks the movement of Saharan dust over the Atlantic throughout the year.
He said the phenomenon is caused by the Saharan Air Layer, a mass of dry air that forms over the desert throughout the year.
The dust is best known for traveling west over the Atlantic, but occasionally moves north towards Europe.
In the summer of 2020, a cloud of dust was so huge it was nicknamed “Godzilla” after winds swept nearly 24 tons from the Sahara to North and South America.
Dust can be harmful to humans as fine particles can affect the respiratory system, but it is known to be beneficial to plant life.
NOAA said dust storms bring minerals such as phosphorus that support soil health as far away as the Amazon rainforest. He said they can also suppress the development of tropical storms during hurricane season.