I watched a fascinating documentary on BBC4 the other night about dust storms and what a serious risk they pose to people’s health, especially in the Middle East, dust storms might look dramatic but they must make people’s lives a misery. I liked the matter of fact tone of the documentary, which is in marked contrast to many other ‘scientific’ documentaries that you see from the BBC about weather and climate in recent years, that’s probably because it was a program made for the BBC World service.
Apparently the Sahara is the source of 50% of all dust in the world’s atmosphere, and 25% of dust storms can be attributed to man, but it’s something we can do something about, if countries can only work together. I had heard about the ecological disaster that man had made of the Aral Sea in the early 1960s, but Lake Urmia in Iran was news to me, a terminal salt lake that’s shrunk to less than 40% of its former size is yet another disaster to add to that list, and because the fine particles from the sediments in the dried out lake bed are an ideal source of dust in storms because they can be so easily lifted by the wind.
You can find the program on iPlayer for the next month and I encourage you to watch it.