This article - issued on 1st April was an April Fool!
Interesting new research coming out of Spain this morning suggests that the dust many of us have been seeing on our cars and elsewhere is not from the Sahara, but is actually from an altogether different source. This has even caught us out as satellite imagery and forecasting models pointed toward the fact that it was Saharan dust, which in itself isn't a particularly rare phenomenon.
Leading Spanish lunar scientist Abril Enganar has offered the alternative view though, and one which makes for very interesting reading when it comes to the UK's climate over the next 12 months. What she has found is that the dust actually has lunar origins, and believes that the source of the dust is from the meteor impact on the moon
back in February. According to Abril, this threw a cloud of 'moon dust' into the earths atmosphere which is slowly working it's way down to earth with particles of the dust falling down with rain droplets as many have observed recently.
It's important to note that none of this dust is considered harmful, so absolutely no need to worry, but Abril's findings extend beyond just the fact that this dust isn't from the Sahara, she also suggests that it could have a significant effect on the weather in the northern hemisphere - and particularly northern Europe. This extra dust in the atmposphere is expected to peak during the winter of 2014/15 which if her research is correct would mean a far colder winter. Abril commented "What is very interesting is that similar amounts of dust in the atmosphere caused by volcanic dust after major eruptions have been shown to cause much colder winters, so perhaps if the Daily Express re-run their 100 days of snow headline next December they may finally be correct".
Of course this is just one theory and making any sort of forecast for Winter some 8 months ahead is a very brave one, but it makes for interesting reading and something we will certainly be keeping an eye on.
Photo credit - By Gregory H. Revera (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons