According to an article in New Scientist the episodes of Saharan dust that affect the alps could increase the risk of avalanches as they affect the albedo of the snow, reflecting less sunlight and causing it to melt faster. The study, by teams in Grenoble and Toulouse, is based on a computer model and has not been confirmed on the ground. It has been presented at the April conference of the European Geo-sciences Union (EGU). Marie Dumont, a researcher at Météo France says that, depending on the altitude, weather, slope angle the sand layer could increase the avalanche risk.
Climate scientists say the sand episodes may become more common as the planet warms. Climate change heats the Mediterranean sea which brings low pressure systems closer to the northern coast sucky air, and sand from North Africa.