Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dust To Gust: Health Of Brazilian Rainforest Depends On Dust From One Valley In Africa

Date:
December 29, 2006
Source:
Weizmann Institute of Science
Summary:
More than half of the dust needed for fertilizing the Brazilian rainforest is supplied by a valley in northern Chad, according to an international research team headed by Dr. Ilan Koren of the Institute's Environmental Sciences and Energy Research Department. In a study published recently in Environmental Research Letters, the scientists have explained how the Bodélé valley's unique features might be responsible for making it such a major dust provider.

More than half of the dust needed for fertilizing the Brazilian rainforest is supplied by a valley in northern Chad, according to an international research team headed by Dr. Ilan Koren of the Institute's Environmental Sciences and Energy Research Department. In a study published recently in Environmental Research Letters, the scientists have explained how the Bodélé valley's unique features might be responsible for making it such a major dust provider.

It has been known for more than a decade that the existence of the Amazon rainforest depends on a supply of minerals washed off by rain from the soil in the Sahara and blown across the Atlantic by dust. By combining various types of satellite data, Dr. Koren and colleagues from Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Brazil have now for the first time managed to obtain quantitative information about the weight of this dust. Analyses of dust quantities were performed near the Bodélé valley itself, on the shore of the Atlantic and at an additional spot above the ocean.

The data revealed that some 56 percent of the dust reaching the Amazon forest originates in the Bodélé valley. They also showed that a total of some 50 million tons of dust make their way from Africa to the Amazon region every year, a much higher figure than the previous estimates of 13 million tons. The new estimate matches the calculations on the quantity of dust needed to supply the vital minerals for the continued existence of the Amazon rainforest.

The researchers suggest that the Bodélé valley is such an important source of dust due to its shape and geographic features: it is flanked on both sides by enormous basalt mountain ridges, which create a cone-shaped crater with a narrow opening in the northeast. Winds that "drain" into the valley focus on this funnel-like opening similarly to the way light is focused by an optical lens, creating a large wind tunnel of sorts. As a result, gusts of surface wind that are accelerated and focused in the tunnel lift the dust from the ground and blow it toward the ocean, allowing the Bodélé valley to export the vast amount of dust that makes a life-sustaining contribution to the Amazon rainforest.

Dr. Ilan Koren's research is supported by the Samuel M. Soref and Helene K. Soref Foundation; and the Sussman Family Center for the Study of Environmental Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weizmann Institute of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Weizmann Institute of Science. "Dust To Gust: Health Of Brazilian Rainforest Depends On Dust From One Valley In Africa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061228213213.htm>.
Weizmann Institute of Science. (2006, December 29). Dust To Gust: Health Of Brazilian Rainforest Depends On Dust From One Valley In Africa. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061228213213.htm
Weizmann Institute of Science. "Dust To Gust: Health Of Brazilian Rainforest Depends On Dust From One Valley In Africa." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061228213213.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) — Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins