Earth  ID: 11775

Satellite Tracks Saharan Dust To Amazon In 3-D

For the first time, a NASA satellite has quantified in three dimensions how much dust makes the trans-Atlantic journey from the Sahara Desert to the Amazon rainforest. Among this dust is phosphorus, an essential nutrient that acts like a fertilizer, which the Amazon depends on in order to flourish.

The new dust transport estimates were derived from data collected by a lidar instrument on NASA's Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation, or CALIPSO, satellite from 2007 though 2013.

An average of 27.7 million tons of dust per year – enough to fill 104,908 semi trucks – fall to the surface over the Amazon basin. The phosphorus portion, an estimated 22,000 tons per year, is about the same amount as that lost from rain and flooding. The finding is part of a bigger research effort to understand the role of dust and aerosols in the environment and on local and global climate.

Research: The fertilizing role of African dust in the Amazon rainforest: A first multiyear assessment based on data from Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations
Journal: Geophysical Research Letters
Link to paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL063040/full

Here is the YouTube video.

 

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For More Information

http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/nasa-satellite-reveals-how-much-saharan-dust-feeds-amazon-s-plants

http://www.nasa.gov/content/earth-right-now/


Credits

Lead Data Visualizer:
Kel Elkins (USRA)

Data Visualizers:
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC)
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)

Lead Scientist:
Hongbin Yu (JCET UMBC)

Lead Producer:
Joy Ng (USRA)

Producer:
Kayvon Sharghi (USRA)

Lead Animator:
Brian Monroe (USRA)

Lead Graphics:
Norman Kuring (NASA/GSFC)

Interviewee:
Hongbin Yu (JCET UMBC)

Narrator:
Joy Ng (USRA)

Writer:
Ellen T. Gray (ADNET Systems, Inc.)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Short URL to share this page:
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/11775

This item is part of this series:
Narrated Movies

Goddard TV Tape:
G2015-021 -- Saharan Dust Travels To The Amazon Rainforest

Keywords:
SVS >> Amazon
SVS >> Dust
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Sahara
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Aerosols
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Amazon Basin
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0