Atlantic Sat Image

Atlantic Sat Image
Clouds over Atlantic

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Saharan Dust and the Amazon connected at the hip.

We've always heard how African dust (also known as the Saharan Air Layer), can suppress hurricane formation. This dust blows off the Saharan desert and moves west across the Atlantic for thousands of miles impacting everyone from Florida through the Caribbean and even South America . Well now, after years of study NASA, has discovered how that same dust acts as fertilizer for the Amazon Jungle in South America.

Nasa says that " For the first time, a NASA satellite has quantified in three dimensions how much dust makes this trans-Atlantic journey. 

Scientists have not only measured the volume of dust, they have also calculated how much phosphorus – a remnant in Saharan sands from part of the desert’s past as a lake bed – gets carried across the ocean from one of the planet’s most desolate places to one of its most fertile."

It appears that Phosphorus is one of those minerals beneficial for plant growth. It turns out the Amazon rain forest needs it to grow and stay healthy.

I am always amazed at how interconnected the entire planet is. How marine currents affect atmospheric ones, or how winds in one hemisphere can impact our weather here.

Check out some cool videos and a NASA explainer here:

African Dust to Amazon Jungle