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Project June 23, 2023

The Saharan Connection and Lessons From Senegal


Leveraging our award-winning Rising Waters coverage, The Saharan Connection will explore how Saharan dust affects our tropical storms.

Every year, winds whisk huge volumes of dust from the Sahara toward the western African coast, a region scientists call the birthplace of hurricanes. Here in this storm nursery, dust collides with trade winds, launching vast dust clouds across the Atlantic to the Carolinas and beyond. What happens in the Sahara clearly doesn’t stay in the Sahara.

In recent years, scientists have demonstrated that Saharan dust also tamps down storms. But global warming could affect these dusty rivers in the sky in unexpected ways. Reporter Tony Bartelme and photographer Andrew Whitaker travel to Senegal and Mauritania to highlight African researchers who tend to be ignored by the global science press.

Lessons From Senegal will highlight the plight of Saint-Louis, which, like Charleston, South Carolina, is an old city that’s losing ground to rising seas. Rising waters in this UNESCO Heritage Site already have forced thousands of people into temporary camps. Senegal and Charleston share remarkable historical and architectural connections, a legacy from the slave trade and colonization. Lessons From Senegal is a reminder that, no matter the distance, we share similar fates amid a rapidly warming planet.


A woman walks along a dock with a boat nearby


Connected Coastlines

Connected Coastlines


yellow halftone illustration of an elephant


Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change