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Mineral dust components in aerosols and their effect on ocean productivity

Researchers are determining the impact that aerosol dust particles have on marine productivity and ecosystem structure and are using the Gulf of Aqaba as a representative study area. The Sahara and adjacent deserts are a major source of aerosols and mineral dust to the atmosphere and contribute to the aerosol load in the vicinity of the Gulf of Aqaba. Since dust emission has increased due to desertification at the borders of the Sahara, emission rates and the resulting effects on climate are now being impacted (potentially severely) by anthropogenic activities. The objective of our work is to elucidate the coupling among aerosol mineralogy, dust sources, deposition rates, and ecosystem responses. Our findings will play a critical role in determining anthropogenic impacts on ocean productivity and resulting climatic impacts, helping to develop the science to predict and policies to mitigate environmental and ecological impacts to our oceans.

Funding Year: 
2005
Region(s): 
Africa
Research Areas: 
Climate
Oceans