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Warning Advisory System for Sand and Dust Storm in Burkina Faso

by Enric Terradellas last modified Oct 26, 2018 02:38 PM

A warning advisory system for sand and dust storm has been launched in the 13 administrative regions into which the territory of Burkina Faso is divided. Its core is a universally understood product based on colour-coded maps that indicate the risk of high dust concentrations during the next 48 hours.

This system has been designed and is operated by the State Meteorological Agency of Spain (AEMET) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) in collaboration with the Burkina Faso National Meteorological Agency. It is released by the World Meteorological Organization’s Sand and Dust Storm – Warning Advisory and Assessment System. The warning levels are computed based on the consensus of numerical predictions released by different meteorological services and research centers around the world.

Burkina Faso is a landlocked African country lying in the transition zone between the Sahara to the north and the humid equatorial region to the south. It has a primarily tropical climate with a rainy season from May/June through September, a little shorter in the northern part of the country, and a dry season, when a hot dry wind called Harmattan blows from the Sahara. During the dry season, frequent dust storms are one of the main meteorological hazards affecting the population. Airborne dust presents serious risks for human health. Particles smaller than 10 microns may penetrate the respiratory tract and cause or exacerbate pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, especially among the most sensitive segments of the population (children, pregnant women, the sick or the elderly). Some infectious diseases have also been associated with airborne dust. Outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial infection of the thin tissue layer that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, occur worldwide, yet the highest incidence is found in the “meningitis belt”, a part of sub-Saharan Africa extending from Senegal to Ethiopia and including the entire territory of Burkina Faso.

 

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