NASA Satellite Shows Tons Of Sahara Dust Fertilize The Amazon Rainforest

Posted: Feb 25 2015, 2:43am CST | by , in News | Technology News


NASA Satellite shows Tons of Sahara Dust fertilize the Amazon Rainforest
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Latest Research points towards Connection between Sahara Desert and Amazon Rainforest

Some of the latest research conducted by scientists points towards a deep connection between the Sahara Desert and the Amazon Rainforest.

It may seem at first sight as though the hot and barren sands of the Sahara Desert are a far cry from the humid and lush tropical rain forest that is the Amazon jungle. Yet, believe it or not, there is a subtle link between the two natural entities that are separated by space and time.

While Africa and South America are a long way off from each other, their individual natural phenomena have a bond between them. The fact is that annually many tons of phosphorus and fertilizers present in the dust from the Sahara cross the Atlantic and saturate the Amazon jungle thoroughly.

The Amazon topsoil gets its vital nutrients this way. At least 22,000 tons of phosphorus travels half a hemisphere to imbue the Amazon jungle with its dense growth capabilities. This is the same amount that the Amazon naturally undergoes a loss of from rainfall and deluges. Thus you can well imagine that Nature keeps its balance.    

As for the total amount of dust that makes its journey to the Sahara, it amounts to millions of tons of which the phosphorus is an infinitesimally small amount (0.08%). The scientists studying these patterns are looking to find out the role of these millions of tons of dust in the atmosphere and soil of various regional climates.

Image Credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio

It is a complex science alright. Dust plays a key role in the topography and general weather conditions of a milieu. The dust that lands on the ground and is swept up by the wind has a pivotal part which it plays in the meteorological system. Especially of chief interest is the dust from Chad which fertilizes the Amazon basin.

Probes of NASA were crucial in this scheme since they collected the relevant evidence related to these findings. This happens to be the most humongous amount of dust transport taking place on the face of the planet. Measurements have been taken and each year the figures vary.

The real paradox is how a barren and totally sparse region can actually influence a region of luxuriant vegetation in such a dynamic way. No one could have fathomed the fact that a no-growth area could benefit a high-growth loci in such a dramatic manner. Yet the world is indeed a very connected place where everything influences everything else.     

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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