Sky in Athens Turns Red

Dust Till Dawn

Yesterday, residents in Athens, Greece were greeted with a surreal sight: the city's blue skies and famous landmarks like the Acropolis were bathed in an ominous glow of red, yellow and orange, The Guardian reports — all due to an epic dust storm from the Sahara Desert.

Strong winds blew fine sand from the arid region to the Mediterranean area and choked up not just the skies over Athens but also other areas in Greece, according to the newspaper, prompting local officials to call this episode one of the worst dust storms since 2018.

Dramatic scenes played out that were more reminiscent of the "Dune" franchise, as people took to social media to document the orange and red skies blanketing the historic city.

Weather Patterns

The dust appears to have cleared off by Wednesday, according to weather reports and at least one eyewitness report posted to the social media platform X-formerly-Twitter.

"It’s one of the most serious episodes of dust and sand concentrations from the Sahara since March 21-22, 2018, when the clouds invaded the island of Crete in particular," Athens Observatory weather research director Kostas Lagouvardos told The Guardian.

In 2020, the Sahara Desert spewed a similarly massive cloud of dust and winds blew it across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. It was so large that it could be seen from space and degraded the air quality in the Caribbean.

What's worrisome to some scientists is that Tuesday's dust storm in Athens and others like it elsewhere in the world, such as the ones in China last year, may presage an era of more such events due to human interference, experts told The Telegraph.

Our changes to the land that lead to increased desertification and hence more dust storms include agriculture, felling of forests, excessive water usage, and increased urbanization, Oxford University Centre for the Environment professor and desert expert David Thomas told The Telegraph.

Safe to say future forecasts for the planet is going to look pretty dusty.

More on the Sahara Desert: A "Godzilla Dust Cloud" From the Sahara Desert is Hitting the United States Right Now