Turkey, sand storm in Ankara

Experts alert of increasing sandstorms in Turkey

The unusual storm that Ankara experienced this weekend, could be repeated in other parts of Turkey due to climate change.

Places in Turkey such as Ankara, which this weekend suffered an unusual sandstorm that covered the sun obscuring the sky at 3 p.m. in entire districts such as Polatlı, and spread panic among city residents, could suffer new such phenomena due to unusual weather conditions caused by climate change, experts warn.

As Professor Hüseyin Toros from the Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ) explained to media, although the sandstorm that swept Ankara on Saturday can be described as a “local” phenomenon, other areas of the country could suffer these phenomena, which normally occurs during the spring months.

“The areas of high pressure are active in the north of the country, while there are active areas of low pressure in the south,” said Toros, referring to the strong winds that generate these types of storms. “Dust transport from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula affects the air quality in the central and southeastern regions of Turkey. It is normally a phenomenon that we see in the spring, but it will happen again this week,” he said.

“What we have seen in Ankara has been strong currents in cumulonimbus clouds that transformed the (high) pressure into a storm and then rain. The greater instability in the atmosphere, strong and sudden winds due to a change in climate patterns and meteorological conditions, and the arid state of the terrain, have caused a greater transport of dust,” explained the scientist.

According to this expert, although Ankara did not suffer great damage or casualties as a result of the phenomenon, the strong winds that accompany the sandstorms could inflict serious damage in other areas of Turkey; they are also harmful to people’s health. For all these reasons, Toros recommended to citizens that before the arrival of such a storm they seek shelter and secure well all objects likely to fly away.