NASA On Air: NASA Satellite Reveals How Much Dust Feeds Amazon’s Plants (2/24/2015)

  • Released Tuesday, February 24, 2015

LEAD: NASA scientists have made the first multi-year satellite-based estimate of how much Saharan dust in Africa floats all the way to South America’s Amazon rainforest.

1. An estimated 28 million tons of African dust falls on the Amazon rainforest – more than 100,000 semi-truck loads.

2. A small but very important ingredient in the dust is the phosphorus from an ancient dusty lake bed in Chad.

3. The African phosphorus plays a critical role as a natural fertilizer for the Amazon rainforest growth.

TAG: This dust transport is the largest on the planet. Satellite studies will also help determine its relationship to climate changes.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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This page was originally published on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:49 PM EDT.