Transatlantic transport and deposition of Saharan dust and its effects on the marine environment.
Intervenant : Jan-Berend W. Stuut
NIOZ - Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht University
MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences Bremen Germany
Massive amounts of Northwest African dust are transported westward over the Atlantic Ocean towards the Americas each year. These dust particles are thought to feed back on climate through a number of mechanisms including reflection of solar energy at the top of the atmosphere, absorption of energy that was reflected at the Earth’s surface in the lower atmosphere, changes of the Earth’s albedo, and fertilisation of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
Using a source-to-sink approach, we are monitoring Saharan dust transport and deposition using an array of instruments collecting dust on land in Mauritania as well as both at sea and settling through the ocean, along a transect at 12°N between Northwest Africa and the Caribbean. We compare our results to Saharan-dust samples collected on Barbados, as well as to transatlantic Saharan transport and deposition modelled using a CESM. Next to the dust particles, we also study the marine-environmental effects of dust deposition, including plankton communities and biomarkers. In this presentation, we will introduce the projects in the framework of which this study is carried out, and present preliminary data on Saharan dust transport and deposition as well as marine-environmental observations.