Calima

So, I’m sure that you have heard of a calima, but what exactly is it?

Endesa calima

The Canary islands are situated just off the coast of Africa, and, more importantly, the Sahara Desert, with Fuerteventura being the closest.

A calima, the word itself originating from the Spanish word for ‘haze’, and is also known as ‘Scirocco’ in other countries, but basically it is the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), a hot, dry and dust laden wind that comes over from the Sahara Desert.

A calima raises the temperature and creates a hazy vista. The severity varies quite a bit and a bad one can reduce visibility a fair amount. During a calima everything gets covered in a fine dust and it can be bad news for those with respiratory problems.

This happens a few times a year, more frequently during the winter months, but it can happen at any time of the year. It doesn’t usually last long, often just 2/3 days, however, it can last a week or even longer.

It has been said that the sand of the Corralejo dunes came over from the Sahara desert on a calima, but this is just a myth. There is in fact very little sand that makes its way all the way over, as it is simply too heavy and usuall drops into the sea on its way, shortly after leaving the Sahara.

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