On 15 March 2022, people across parts of Switzerland awoke to strange orange skies. This phenomenon is caused by sand from the Sahara desert. It is a well known meteorological phenomenon that occurs roughly three times a year in Switzerland, typically during spring and autumn.
The image above is from a Meteo Swiss webcam at the top of the Dole (1,677m), the second highest point of the Jura mountain range in the Swiss canton of Vaud. The image was captured at 9:40am on 15 March 2022.
This is the third time the phenomenon has occurred in Switzerland this year.
The sand comes mainly from the north-west of Africa, a region containing Mauritania, Mali and Algeria. Most of the sand is floating airborne at between 2km and 5km from the ground and typically takes several days to travel from the desert in Africa to Europe. The largest particles land on the ground while the smallest remain airborne and continue their journey northward.
The phenomenon accompanies a warm air weather system known as the Foehn which brings warm air from the south.