Thanks to a scientific overview of pictures caught by NASA’s satellite researchers figured out how the dust from Sahara works as fertilizer for Amazon rainforests. The researchers have estimated how much phosphorus from Saharan sands gets conveyed over the oceans all the way to the rainforests.
Lead researcher Hongbin Yu working as an atmospheric expert at the University of Maryland noted in light of the new finding:
“This is a small world. And we’re all connected together.”
It gives the first satellite-based evaluation of this phosphorus transport over quite a few years.
Furthermore, this marks the first time when a NASA satellite has made a 3D estimation of the amount of dust that is carried to the fertile area. Phosphorus is needed for plant proteins and the Amazonian rainforest relies upon phosphorus to make it thrive.
As indicated by researchers, the phosphorus from the Sahara desert gets to the rainforest in an average quantity of twenty two thousand tons every year. Yu further explained that the total is pretty much same amount that is lost because of downpour and flooding. The researcher added:
“We know that dust is very important in many ways. It is an essential component of the Earth system. Dust will affect climate and, at the same time, climate change will affect dust”
Hongbin Yu is also a staff member at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The discoveries of the investigation were distributed on Feb 24 in Geophysical Research Letters, a diary of the American Geophysical Union.
Another scientist of the research team explained that wind flows vary according to altitude and this is a leap forward in understanding this dynamics. He included that the satellite images can help uncover what dust transport looks like in 3D and then proceed to comparisons between the models to contribute to climate research.
Year after year, the dust carrying pattern varies. An 86 percent change was recorded between the highest quantity of dust transported in 2007 and the least in 2011. Yu and his associates suggest that this fluctuation is due to conditions in the Sahel, the long piece of semi-arid soil on the southern part of the Sahara. A long time of high precipitation in the Sahel were regularly followed by low debris transport in sequel year.
Despite the fact that the process behind this relationship is still a puzzle, Yu and his group have a couple of theories. Increased precipitation could imply more vegetation and subsequently less soil available for wind erosion in the Sahel. A second, more probable theory is that the quantity of precipitation is linked to wind course patterns that scope dust from both the Sahel and Sahara into the upper atmosphere, where it starts the long voyage crossing the ocean.
Image Source: Sci News