Geoscience: The dust settles

    Global Biogeochem. Cycles 22, GB2006 (2008) doi:10.1029/2007GB002984

    Iron-rich dust, blown from arid lands and dropped into the oceans, is an important nutrient for phytoplankton. But according to Thibaut Wagener at the Oceanographic Laboratory of France's National Centre for Scientific Research in Villefranche-sur-Mer and his colleagues, estimates for dust flux are 10 times too high in the Southern Hemisphere in global climate-change models.

    They collected and analysed dust (see above, a silica particle entangled in sea salt) on cruises in the southern Pacific and Indian Oceans. The authors argue that the amount of iron in upwelling plumes of water limits phytoplankton growth in these oceans.

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    Geoscience: The dust settles. Nature 453, 260 (2008) doi:10.1038/453260d

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