African dust storms feed the Amazon
November 1, 2006 8:39 PM   Subscribe

African dust storms [pic] have been suspected of causing fish-killing red tide in the Caribbean, but also of mitigating the effect of hurricanes. Now analysis of images from NASA's MODIS satellite have revealed the Bodélé, a region of the Sahara not far from Lake Chad, as the source of more than half the material that fertilises the Amazon rainforest.
posted by ernie (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I should have either put quote marks on the last sentence, or made it "my own" by spelling it fertilize, sorry
posted by ernie at 8:45 PM on November 1, 2006

Wow, that's really interesting. The image of the dust storms is quite mind blowing. Great post!
posted by ob at 8:47 PM on November 1, 2006

Great stuff, ernie. The Secret Life of Dust is a good read, also.
Dust is a killer, but we couldn't exist without it.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:18 PM on November 1, 2006

Makes my eyes itchy just thinking about it!
posted by Pollomacho at 9:22 PM on November 1, 2006

The bits I just read about the Bodele Depression are impressive. Major contributor to atmospheric dust, significant factor in mineral aerosol distribution, big player in the larger atmospheric mechanisms.

Like our cells, it sometimes seems our earth is but a machine. A fertile hotspot in Africa is the source of the Amazon's nutrition? Too weird by half.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:32 PM on November 1, 2006

Though I don't doubt that this is happening, I do doubt that the Amazon would be but a "wet desert" as stated in the last link. I would think that grasses would have grown and provided plenty of layers of biomass to enrich the soils, sort of like the plains of North America.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:42 PM on November 1, 2006

That's fascinating. Gives new meaning to the old cliche, "small world".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:24 PM on November 1, 2006

Cool post, thanks!
posted by oneirodynia at 8:56 AM on November 2, 2006

Fantastic stuff....ashes to ashes indeed.
posted by lalochezia at 9:10 AM on November 2, 2006

I can't believe I didn't notice this post until now, cool post ernie, thx.
posted by micayetoca at 6:17 PM on November 2, 2006

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