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Aug 1 / Dave Schumaker

African Dust Cloud Crosses Atlantic

Saharan dust cloud crossing the Atlantic OceanScientists have been watching a large dust cloud kicked up from Saharan dust storms as it crosses the Atlantic Ocean. This press release from the USGS contains more information. Millions of tons of dust are transported across the Atlantic Ocean annually. Although the transport of African dust has occurred over geologic time, the quantities have increased and the composition has changed over the last 40 years. The research is part of an ongoing investigation identifying the chemical contaminants and microorganisms traveling with the dust and their effects on ecosystem and human health. The USGS is investigating the link between African dust and declines on coral reefs throughout the Caribbean region and the relation between dust episodes and asthma attacks. Dust clouds may also play an important role in suppressing hurricane development. The USGS has a specific website dedicated to the study of these African dust storms setup. Check it out, as it also contains some interesting satellite photos as well.

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