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The African Source Of The Amazon's Fertilizer
Science News Magazine ^ | 11-18-2006 | Sid Perkins

Posted on 11/18/2006 4:22:58 PM PST by blam

The African source of the Amazon's fertilizer

Sid Perkins

In the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, massive dust storms from the African Sahara waft southwest across the Atlantic to drop tons of vital minerals on the Amazon basin in South America. Now, scientists have pinpointed the source of many of those dust storms and estimated their dust content.

ON THE WAY. Satellite photo shows dust (arrow), bound for the Amazon, blowing away from the Sahara's Bodélé depression. NASA

The Amazonian rainforest depends on Saharan dust for many of its nutrients, including iron and phosphorus (SN: 9/29/01, p. 200: http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20010929/bob9.asp). "If it weren't for those nutrients, the Amazon would be a wet desert," says Ilan Koren, an atmospheric scientist at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.

Using satellite measurements of dust clouds, Koren and his colleagues estimate that 40 million tons of Saharan dust reaches South America each year. The images indicate that more than half of that dust originates from the Bodélé depression, a now-dry basin on the southern edge of the Sahara that in wetter times held a body of water the size of Lake Erie.

Although the depression is only 0.2 percent of the Sahara's surface area, it's a prodigious dust source, the researchers report in the October–December Environmental Research Letters. Dust storms arise from the area on 40 percent of winter days. On average, the storms loft more than 700,000 tons of dust each day, says Koren.

If you have a comment on this article that you would like considered for publication in Science News, send it to editors@sciencenews.org. Please include your name and location.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; african; agriculture; amazon; animalhusbandry; annaroosevelt; brazil; catastrophism; climate; cloudformation; desertification; drought; dust; fertlizer; globalwarminghoax; godsgravesglyphs; mineraldust; preclovis; refoliation; sahara; saharaforest; slashandburn; terrapreta; theamazon; weather
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To: blam
When I lived in Florida (Melbourne), having orange dust on my car was pretty common.

I was going to mention that too. I have seen that dust in Florida and was amazed when told it blew in from Africa.

It's an amazing planet.

21 posted on 03/31/2009 7:51:46 AM PDT by Ditto
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To: Ditto
That dust is orange because it is heavy in iron (rust). This iron has been shown to cause the rapid growth of the algae that causes 'Red Tide' that kill fish, etc.

Red Tides From Desert Dust

"What we call "Red Tide" is a fact of life in Florida... an algae bloom that kills fish, makes shellfish toxic to humans, and releases an aerosol that prompts scratchy throats for people near the beaches. Now scientists like John Walsh believe they know what starts the process: Dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa (John Walsh, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor, University of South Florida)...

22 posted on 03/31/2009 8:12:19 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam

That is very interesting. Thanks.


23 posted on 03/31/2009 5:03:33 PM PDT by bigheadfred (Negromancer !!! RUN for your lives !!!)
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Note: this topic is from 11/18/2006.

Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

Blast from the Past. To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


24 posted on 03/16/2012 3:19:01 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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