I wanted to post about 黄砂（こうさ）or “yellow dust, yellow sand, yellow wind, China dust storms”
I was surprised today to learn that Japanese weather forecasting channels report on this as part of their standard programming.
According to this article, the dust is seasonal and comes from the deserts of Mongolia, picking up air pollution before being swept down to torture people’s allergies and their health.
It got me thinking. When I picture desertification, I typically think of slowly encroaching desert edges and the loss of lush green forests, water, and oxygen. I don’t usually think of apocalyptic dust laden with pollution descending on me from the heavens. It reminds me of that crazy dust/lightning storm in the 2015 Mad Max movie.
I lived in the Canary Islands, a province of Spain off the coast of Morocco. They get dusty weather a lot when wind blows in from Africa, they call it Calima (the only reference on Wikipedia I can find is a section in the article about wind.) The sky gets brown for a few days and things get covered in dust but it’s not a big problem.
Even in Germany we are exposed to Sahara sands from Africa sometimes. It’s not that the dust is visible in the air, but when it rains, everything is yellow and sandy. It’s a pretty rare phenomenon, though.