A single spot in the Sahara that provides huge amounts of nutrients to the Amazon
Tue, 08/14/2012 - 8:59am
The BodÃ©lÃ© depression: a single spot in the Sahara that provides most of the mineral dust to the Amazon forest
About 40 million tons of dust are transported annually from the Sahara to the Amazon basin. Saharan dust has been proposed to be the main mineral source that fertilizes the Amazon basin, generating a dependence of the health and productivity of the rain forest on dust supply from the Sahara. Here we show that about half of the annual dust supply to the Amazon basin is emitted from a single source: the BodÃ©lÃ© depression located northeast of Lake Chad, approximately 0.5% of the size of the Amazon or 0.2% of the Sahara. Placed in a narrow path between two mountain chains that direct and accelerate the surface winds over the depression, the BodÃ©lÃ© emits dust on 40% of the winter days, averaging more than 0.7 million tons of dust per day.
Even understanding how connected the global ecosystem is, research like this provides amazing reminders of those connections.