No change in African dust transport over past 45 years


  • Colin Schultz


The long-distance transport of dust around the planet has important implications for ecosystem stability and global climate dynamics. In some cases, most prominently the vast Amazon rainforest, travelling dust is the primary source of iron and phosphorous to otherwise nutrient-limited regions. Wind-swept sediments can affect the planetary albedo and sully the surface of icy regions driving increased melting. Therefore, understanding how ongoing climate change may affect the wind circulation patterns in major dust-generating regions is particularly important. Unfortunately, hostile environmental conditions in many of the important sources of dust mean that long-term wind speed and direction records from on-the-ground anemometers are nonexistent.