Calima

 

Calima is an atmospheric phenomenon caused by sand, dust and other particles which travel from Africa (Sahara Desert) crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the Canary Islands. In The Canary Islands we normally have north wind which we call here “Alisios wind”, but when East wind appears it´s when it picks up the famous Calima and brings it over to the Islands, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are the most affected by this phenomenon.

Calimas normally bring heat waves, the temperature rises to around 30º-40º, also due to the dust suspension it makes it more difficult to breath. Calima is unpredictable so it can happen any time of the year, but it usually appears in the winter season. It can last from 3 to 5 days or even up to a week, the worst one we´ve had in recent years lasted a week and it was very dense, causing low visibility and extreme amounts of dust entering everywhere.

Very rarely these winds can also bring Desert Locust invading the islands. These insects can consume an amount of vegetation as much as their body weight in a daily basis, this can cause a big impact on any society economically and environmentally.