People on Merseyside have been warned to expect moderate pollution levels that could trigger health problems on Thursday.
This is due to the mild southerly airflow currently affecting the UK, which brings an increased chance of seeing some Saharan dust.
Wondering why it’s so mild? This is where our air is coming from… Jo pic.twitter.com/KuPS8cafz4
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) December 16, 2015
This dust has been lifted from its source in west Africa by strong winds and is being blown northwards as it is caught up in the weather systems heading towards the UK.
A spokesperson for DEFRA has said: “There is a risk of Moderate or High levels of air pollution across parts of England and Wales on Thursday due to Saharan dust, although large uncertainties remain with the timing and amount of dust”
The Met Office also say that a band of rain associated with a cold front will bring a change of airmass from the Atlantic, pushing the dust clear of the east coast of England by the end of Thursday and that the rain may lead to some deposits of dust being left on surfaces.
Dr Sotiris Vardoulakis, Head of Public Health England’s Environmental Change Department, said: “While most people will not be affected by short term peaks in ambient air pollution, some individuals, such as those with existing heart or lung conditions, may experience increased symptoms.
“On occasions where levels are high, adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms.
— Defra Air Quality (@DefraUKAir) December 16, 2015
“People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion.
“Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.”