Sydney, Australia: Sydneysiders have woken to a red haze unlike anything seen before by residents or weather experts, as the sun struggles to pierce a thick blanket of dust cloaking the city this morning.
Callers flooded talkback radio, others hit social networking sites and scores of emails were received from smh.com.au readers as Sydney residents expressed their amazement at this morning’s conditions.
“It’s just red, red, red as far as you can see,” said one caller at the Anzac Bridge.
The dusty blanket that wrapped itself around Sydney this morning pushed air pollution levels to 1500 times their normal levels – the highest on record, a climate scientist says.
The size of the dust cloud surprised weather experts, who say it has covered half of NSW.
Dr John Leys, principal research scientist with the NSW Department of Climate Change and Water, said initial estimates showed the dust plume stretched 600 kilometres along the NSW coast from Sydney to the Queensland border this morning, dumping up to 75,000 tonnes of dust per hour into the Tasman Sea.
“It’s travelled about 1500 kilometres to get to Sydney,” Dr Leys said.
Chris Eiser, manager of atmospheric science at the department, said measurements taken in Sydney today showed the highest level of particle concentration on record.
A normal day would see around 10 micrograms of particles per cubic metre of air and a bushfire might generate 500 micrograms.
Today, levels soared to 15,400 micrograms per cubic metre of air at one location.
“During a dust storm, that’s when we get our highest levels historically and this is the highest we’ve measured in Sydney,” Mr Eiser said.
If this had happened anywhere else (anywhere without dust clouds concentrations at least) I’m pretty sure people would have called it a sign of the apocalypse xD, I guess it must be weird to wake up and see everything outside in red/orange/pink, specially with the year 2012 just around the corner, but it could also mean the coming of Supermanski, or Superman from “The Red Son” =P