Some science behind the scenes

Sirocco

The Sirocco is  a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe. Sirocco winds with speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour are most common during the autumn and the spring. They reach a peak in March and in November when it is very hot, with a maximum speed of about 100 km/h.

The sirocco is known in North Africa by the Arabic word qibli or ghibli ( قبلي  i.e. "coming from the qibla".).  But it affects numerous southern European countries – Italy, France, Greece, Croatia, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Slovakia and even the Czech Republic. It also affects Spain and the Canary Islands where this oppressive, hot, dust bearing wind is called la calima

It is caused by a warm, dry, tropical airmass being pulled northward by low-pressure cells moving eastward across the Mediterranean Sea, with the wind originating in the Arabian or Sahara deserts.   The hotter, drier continental air mixes with the cooler, wetter air of the maritime cyclone, and the counter-clockwise circulation of the low propels the mixed air across the southern coasts of Europe.  The sirocco carries red Sahara dust and is associated with ferocious storms and heavy rain, the wind being very strong, lasting about 4 days. Thus as you can see this wind is highly turbulent.

Many people attribute health problems to the Sirocco linking it to the heat and dust .  But they may be wrong in their attribution, as it is clear that the sirocco produces infrasound – but it is also clear that the frequency of the sound produced is very different to that of the mistral.

The sirocco damages your health.

Firstly there seems to be quite a bit of evidence that it can be linked to heart irregularities, exacerbating the problems of those who already have heart conditions ………………..

 [Meteorologic effects and thrombocyte aggregation in patients with myocardial infarct living in the coastal region of central Dalmatia]. - Mirić D, Rumboldt Z, Eterović D, Reić P, Bozić I;  Klinika za unutarnje bolesti Klinickog bolnickog centra u Splitu i Medicinskog fakulteta u Zagrebu.

The circulating platelet aggregates were measured in 90 patients admitted to the Clinical Hospital Split because of myocardial infarction developed in the coastal region of Middle Dalmatia.

They were divided into three groups, each consisting of 30 patients affected by coronary incident developed during the three most characteristic weather types in the region: sirocco, bora and calm weather. All the patients had elevated values of circulating thrombocyte aggregates, but the patients in the sirocco group exhibited significantly higher values (34.77% +/- 11.67%) than the patients in both bora (27.93% +/- 11.72%; p < 0.05) and the calm weather groups (23.5% +/- 10.62%; p < 0.01).

In the control group of 10 healthy examinees the values of circulating platelet aggregates were within normal range during all the three weather types (5.85% +/- 0.70%, 5.24 +/- 0.51% and 5.18 +/- 0.59%, in case of sirocco, bora and calm weather, respectively).

The three groups were not significantly different regarding the values of creatinine kinase, which means that the infarct size was not the probable cause of the observed differences in platelet aggregability. Taking into account our previous finding of increased incidence of coronary events during sirocco, these results suggest that increased platelet aggregability is a contributing factor to the risk of myocardial infarction during such a weather.

The influence of weather conditions on the occurrence of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation]. - Michałkiewicz D, Chwiałkowski J, Dziuk M, Olszewski R, Kamiński G, Skrobowski A, Cholewa M.; Wojskowy Instytut Medyczny w Warszawie, Klinika Chorób Wewnetrznych i Kardiologii CSK MON.

The effect of the changing weather conditions on the incidence of the paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) has not been documented before.

This analysis retrospectively assessed the influence of the weather conditions on 1153 PAF cases over the period of 10 years. The average age of the studied population was 64.9 +/- 9.2 years. There was 60% males in the group. The majority (84%) had an existing heart disease, the remaining part was diagnosed as the lone PAF.

The following factors favoured the FAP occurrence: high air temperature (> 25 Centigrade) for more than 3 days, low temperature (< 8 Centigrade), water vapor pressure > 16.5 kPa, accelerated increase of the air pressure > 8hPa over 2 days.

The following weather conditions such as: temperature, air humidity and pressure have a definite impact on the occurrence of the paroxysmal atrial fibrillation episodes in 87% of patients especially those with co-existing coronary heart disease, hypertension or older age.

There is also some evidence that it can affect hormones, particularly in certain sensitive women, creating effects which mimic pre menstrual tension.  The following is an Italian study …………….

Hormone changes during the sirocco - Li Vecchi M, Fradà G Jr, Di Lorenzo G.

The results of a study of 15 subjects on the occasion of a sirocco wind are reported. Behaviour of ARP, aldosteronaemia, cortisolaemia, Ht and serum electrolytes was assessed. A significant increase in ARP, aldosteronaemia and Ht was observed during the sirocco, while serum electrolytes went down. Cortisolaemia did not perform uniformly, increasing in some subjects and falling in others.

The following group of researchers attributed the effects to ‘positive ions’ but given the other evidence, it seems more likely to be infrasound…………

New methods in the treatment of weather sensitivity - Sulman FG, Levy D, Lunkan L, Pfeifer Y, Tal E.

Changing weather fronts produce severe changes of daily rhythms. …. They are responsible for the epidemic appearance of migraine and of thrombo-embolism.

The impact of atmospheric [changes] has been assessed in 1000 patients by daily urinalysis of serotonin, 5-HIAA, adrenaline, noradrenaline, histamine, thyroxine, 17-KS, 17-OH, Na, K, creatinine and diureses. The changes found in these 12 parameters allowed a classification of reactions into three clinical entities:

  1. serotonin hyperproduction causing a typical irritation syndrome:
  2. adrenal deficiency producing a typical exhaustion syndrome;
  3. hyperthyroidism "Forme fruste" with subclinical "apathetic" thyroid symptoms.

These sufferings, are typical for Föhn, Tramontana, Sirocco, Sharkiye, Chamssin, Sharav and Santa Ana Winds.

So the sirocco and other turbulent winds of a similar type affect the serotonin receptors the adrenal gland and the thyroid gland.  The effect upon the serotonin receptors may account for some of the spiritual experiences that also occur with this wind.