Sunday, 2 August 2009


Marjorie Dawes would be happy with life in Dubai right now. There's quite a lot of dust about.

It's everywhere, a miasma of fine, irritating powder suspended in the air and reducing visibility to a few hundred yards. I'm constantly clearing my throat, my hair feels like chicken wire and the car is downstairs having a fine layer of abrasive sand ground into its paintwork by the watchman, who is a closet Green and believes in using minimal water to wash a car.

In case you're interested, it's been blown down the Gulf from Iraq, this dust. It's well-travelled dust, liberated dust. This is one of a number of stunning images of the storm from NASA's earth observatory.

It's brought the summer temperatures down by about 15-20 degrees, but we're living in a gloomy, overcast world that will have asthmatics grasping for the Ventolin. We had this last year, too, but nowhere near as bad. Usually, you get dust here when the 'Shamal' blows, the North wind. But this is no shamal, it's just a suspension.

I've never seen this before in 20 years of travelling around and living in this place. I don't know if anyone else remembers it.

Next thing we're all going to find out that it's rich in depleted uranium from US munitions deployed in Iraq. I know that's seeing the hole not the doughnut, but this is just the weather for that kind of thing, oppressive and gloomy.

Blogging about the weather... How low have I sunk, hmm?


Dubai Jazz said...

These dust particles are so fine they get through any filter on any AC machine. There's just no escaping them.

Mita said...

I know the feeling - I decided not to leave the house. "Working from home" - honest!

Dubai Jazz said...

p.s. Mita, I called in sick today. And I thought it was just me.

Anonymous said...

For those of us living in kuwait - this is just another day!!

Keefieboy said...

Sometimes you just have to blog about the weather.

HE said...

For some reason, this weather makes me nervous.

Anonymous said...

Anything bringing the temperatures down is fine with me. I would much rather have dust in my hair than the sun baking my brain.

Roger Helbig said...

There is no reason to worry about depleted uranium; it is not in the dust cloud. The anti-DU crusade and Saddam Hussein's propaganda campaign from the mid-90's that preceded it have planted myths and deliberate misinformation on the internet and all over the world. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did extensive testing in Kuwait after the Gulf War; Saddam refused them or any other international scientific organization entry to Iraq.

Radiological Conditions in Areas of Kuwait With Residues of Depleted Uranium - be sure to read
Appendix III - Experiments to Examine Resuspension

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