Archives par mot-clé : Dust

How ancient dust from the sea floor helps to explain climate history


During the last Ice Age about 20,000 years ago, iron-containing dust acted as a fertilizer for marine phytoplankton in the South Pacific, promoting CO2 sequestration and thus the glacial cooling of the Earth. But where did the dust come from? Researchers led by Dr. Torben Struve, geoscientist at the University of Oldenburg, Germany, have investigated this open question of climate history, which is also relevant with respect to current climate change.

Using sediment cores from the sea floor, they found that a large part of the dust deposited in the southern South Pacific at that time had travelled an extremely long way. Up to 80 percent of the dust came from what is now north-west Argentina, from where it was transported almost completely around the globe by the prevailing westerly winds. After a voyage of up to 20,000 kilometres, it contributed significantly to the increased input of iron into the glacial South Pacific. The dust input from Australia, which dominates in the South Pacific today, played only a minor role. The research team has published these new insights into the mechanisms of natural iron input into the Southern Ocean in the journal Nature Communications.

“We have analysed the chemical fingerprint of the dust and compared it with geological data from several continents. This was laborious work, like a jigsaw puzzle,” says Struve, a post-doctoral scientist in the research group “Marine Isotope Geochemistry” at the University’s Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM). The team included researchers from his group as well as colleagues from the Alfred Wegener Institute – Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven (Germany), and from Columbia University, New York (USA).

The Medusae Fossae Formation as the single largest source of dust on Mars

by L. Ojha et al., July 20, 2018 in NatureCommunications (open access)

Transport of fine-grained dust is one of the most widespread sedimentary processes occurring on Mars today. In the present climate, eolian abrasion and deflation of rocks are likely the most pervasive and active dust-forming mechanism. Martian dust is globally enriched in S and Cl and has a distinct mean S:Cl ratio. Here we identify a potential source region for Martian dust based on analysis of elemental abundance data …

Understanding the climate impact of natural atmospheric particles

by University of Leeds, December 4, 2017 in ScienceDaily

Scientists have quantified the relationship between natural sources of particles in the atmosphere and climate change. Their research shows that the cooling effect of natural atmospheric particles is greater during warmer years and could therefore slightly reduce the amount that temperatures rise as a result of climate change.Share: