African winds from SW – SE

A Calima wind, which brings sand from the Sahara Desert聽 is unpredictable so it can happen any time of the year, but it usually appears in the winter season between December and March.. It can last from 3 to 5 days or even up to a week and it is very dense, causing low visibility and extreme amounts of dust entering everywhere.

Calima Winds

The word Calima itself originates from the Spanish word for 鈥渉aze鈥. This haze is a layer of dust and sand brought on high winds originating from Africa. On occasion weather fronts in the south-west of the Canary Islands can increase wind-speeds even more. In these cases the Calima will escalate bringing very high temperatures with it, and is able to carry dust high above the Atlantic covering hundreds of thousands of square miles with a dense cloud of Saharan sand, sometimes聽 reaching the Caribbean.

DETAILS from 2020 Yacht Maya >>

SandstormHigh Winds


One measure of air pollution is the amount of coarse particulate matter 鈥 or PM10 鈥 in the air close to the Earth鈥檚 surface, another is aerosol optical depth (AOD) which is a measure of how much direct sunlight is blocked by dust and haze in the atmosphere. CAMS has been tracking both and, as confirmed by Aeronet observations, the CAMS forecasts of total AOD represented the event very well, including the longer-range transport.

In the Canary Islands, air quality was severely degraded for several days as a result of the dust storms, with high measured PM10 values.