Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dust in Earth system can affect oceans, carbon cycle, temperatures, and health

Date:
February 23, 2010
Source:
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
Summary:
Dust is a powerful thing. Not the stuff that we wipe off the coffee table on a regular basis, but the tiny particles floating around in the Earth's atmosphere, which originate primarily from deserts in North Africa and the Middle East. It can affect the oceans, impact the carbon cycle and even have an effect on global temperature.

Dust is a powerful thing.

Related Articles


Not the stuff that we wipe off the coffee table on a regular basis, but the tiny particles floating around in the earth's atmosphere, which originate primarily from deserts in North Africa and the Middle East.

It can affect the oceans, impact the carbon cycle and even have an effect on global temperature.

Dust, and its impact on our planet, was the focus of a symposium recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, in San Diego, California. The discussion began with a presentation by NSERC-funded researcher Dr. Karen Kohfeld from Simon Fraser University.

Dr. Kohfeld is the leader of the climate, oceans and paleo-environments laboratory at the university. Her research focuses on paleo-climate, or using past climates and geologic data to see how well our current climate models are doing. She invented the Dust Indicators and Records of Terrestrial and Marine Palaeoenvironments (DIRTMAP) database which has been used over the past decade by several modeling groups to test whether their representation of the dust cycle is realistic.

"It has been used to demonstrate that both increases in winds and decreases in vegetation cover were important contributors to the dustiness of the last ice age," she writes.

At the conference, Dr. Kohfeld presented an overview of how dust changes and interacts within the Earth system, as her newer work has focused on the role of dust as a feedback within the Earth system, specifically its relevance to the ocean carbon cycle.

She says dust in the atmosphere is a constant in climate studies, given that it is almost everywhere and has seen significant changes throughout history.

Dr. Kohfeld stresses the importance of the dust cycle because of its impact on the carbon cycle. Dust contains iron and other nutrients essential for many organisms. Dust deposition in oceans, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems can fertilize these areas, resulting in increased growth of vegetation, which in turn leads to less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

"Dust is a really good example of how land, atmosphere and climate are connected," she says.

She adds that she is hoping to create better models for understanding the dust cycle and understanding how changes to it will affect the oceans, the carbon cycle and, ultimately, us.

The symposium, entitled "Dust in the Earth System," also brought up issues of health in relation to the dust cycle.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. "Dust in Earth system can affect oceans, carbon cycle, temperatures, and health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100219204413.htm>.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. (2010, February 23). Dust in Earth system can affect oceans, carbon cycle, temperatures, and health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100219204413.htm
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. "Dust in Earth system can affect oceans, carbon cycle, temperatures, and health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100219204413.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) For the second time in two months, a rare weather phenomenon filled the Grand Canyon with thick clouds just below the rim on Wednesday. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 29, 2015) Time lapse video captures a blanket of clouds amassing in the Grand Canyon -- the result of a rare meteorological process called "cloud inversion." Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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