Latest studies indicate a link between the Sahara and the rainforest in the Amazon. The study proposes that dust rich in phosphorus is carried from a lakebed that is dried up and deposited in the Amazon. Scientific studies have shown that for a long period, large amounts of dust from the Sahara were regularly transported by atmospheric conditions and winds. The dust was transported over the Atlantic Ocean on a regular basis, before ending up in the Amazon.
The information for the study was obtained by CALIPSO. This is a satellite owned and operated by NASA. The mission of the satellite is to engage in studying clouds, their structure, as well as the path of particulate matter that surrounds Earth. The satellite was able to clearly show the movement of the phosphorous dust from the Sahara to the Amazon.
Hongbin Yu, a scientist connected with the study, stated that the dust transported annually from the Sahara in particulate form weight around 182 million tons. In this nearly 30 million tons are deposited every year in the Amazon.
This dust is full of the element –phosphorus. This is considered a vital link, which encourages plants to grow. Research done earlier indicates that the Amazonian soil lacks this component. This deficiency has been attributed to the impact of the water bodies and rainfall in the Amazon. Together they remove most of the nutrition from the soil.
In contrast, the Bodele Depression has made the dust from the Sahara, extremely rich in this element. Since it has been around from centuries, the amount of phosphorous is always on the higher end in the Sahara. Scientists have looked at information gathered from areas like Miami, Chad and Barbados.
As per them close to 22,000 tons of this dust are deposited in the Amazon. However, almost all of it is washed away by rainfall annually. They also noticed changes in the amount transported over the Atlantic annually. The biggest dust cloud was noticed in the year 2007 and the smallest cloud of this dust was observed in the year 2011. This has been temporarily attributed to the rainfall received by the Sahel, a land strip near the southern part of the desert in the Sahara. However, they stated that more research was required on the same.