A whirl of wind can look mighty dramatic in the desert…

What’s this video of? Well, only a mini twister that was spotted in Dubai on Tuesday. It shows how dramatic ‘towering winds’ can look when combined with the desert sand.

Click to play…

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This twister was seen on Mohammed bin Zayed road this afternoon by a

Dubai resident.

So what causes a ‘twister’ in the UAE? Well, this kind of weather phenomenon is referred to as a ‘dust devil’ in the United States – and they can range from a few metres tall to many hundreds of metres tall, with the winds inside the ‘chimney’ usually whirling at about 70 kilometres per hour.

They happen when a vertically-oriented rotation of wind starts to blow (normally in hot and sunny conditions), and in the UAE they’re so marked because the desert sands are so moveable.

They are caused by hot air from the ground rising quickly through a small pocket of cooler air – and when the air rotates, you get the tower of sand.

The end result is effectively a chimney of hot air according to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather. They can disband in seconds, as soon as some cool air is sucked in.

If you combine a flat terrain (like desert) with clear skies and not much wind, you’re more likely to see this phenomenon occur.

Fast fact: They also occur on Mars.

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Images: Nabeel Ahmed Quraishi