Yellow sky: Saharan dust a possible cause of tinted clouds over London


Nefarious Martians or the apocalypse were among the reasons floated for an unusual atmospheric phenomenon in London on Monday.

The sky over the capital turned a hazy yellow, causing confusion among residents.

“Guys why is the sky in London yellow? Dust storm? Martians?” asked one Twitter user.

Another queried: “Why is the sky yellow in London right now? Can someone explain? Is this the end of days?”

Meteorologists said a possible cause was dust brought up from the Sahara desert by southerly winds.

Oli Claydon, a Met Office spokesperson, told The Independent: “With the wind coming from the south we have had some Saharan dust brought across the UK at very high altitudes, [though] not at sea level.

“That’s helped to cause some notably vibrant sunrises and sunsets.

“If anything, it’s actually moving away.”

A similar but significantly more extreme such event followed the impact of ex-Hurricane Ophelia in 2017, when skies turned a deep ochre and the sun was visible as a deep red disc.

A yellow tint to Monday’s overcast skies was also reported in Essex.

In a blog post last week Nasa’s Earth Observatory noted that a plume of Saharan dust was heading for Europe.

Every year, some 180 million tons of dust blow out of northern Africa, the space agency said.

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