Whats on Fuerteventura – What is a Calima?

What's on Fuerteventura Calima

What is a "Calima"

Calima 2

Whats on Fuerteventura -What is a Calima?

Every now and then the weather here turns hazy and visibility is greatly reduced.  What is causing this?

This weather phenomenon is called a “Calima” and happens a few times each year and can last anything from a few hours to several days.

What is a Calima?

These “Calimas” can occur at any time throughout the year, but are more common in the summer months. These dust storms greatly reduce visibility to the point where Lanzarote and Lobos totally disappear. They are also responsible for depositing approximately 1.5 million tonnes of sand and dust every year on the Canaries, affecting agriculture and the health of the population.

Where do they come from?

This dusty wind often starts as far away as China then passes over Central and Eastern Asia, the Middle East and North Africa before reaching us here in the Canaries, and it is even known to deposit sand and dust as far away as the Caribbean and South America as it passes.

What causes it?

The dust is caused by deforestation, desertification, change of land use and increased drought and mainly comes from the Sahara Desest

Is it dangerous?

When it settles on crops and plant life, it can disrupt photosynthesis limiting growth, and once deposited in the oceans it can cause damage to coral due to the pathogens it contains.
Over the past four years some of the most intense storms have been in January and February, causing a huge increase in reported asthma cases in the Canarian population.

What can I do to avoid it?

If you’re here on holiday during one of these storms, dig out your masks from Covid to protect you from inhaling the dust. Find a sheltered spot away from the wind and relax with a cold beer or two,  but as always use plenty of suncream as even though it appears very hazy, you can still get burned.

Should you have a severe reaction due to the dust, or suffer from breathing problems,  go to the  Emergency Department at the Central Salud. During severe Calimas they set up Nebulising Stations to help people with Asthma and other breathing problems.

 

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