The dust of the Sahara desert raised by the wind can cross the oceans. Using NASA satellite imagery, scientists have shown that this transport by upper tradewinds reaches the Amazon basin and contributes to the supply of nutrients to the Amazon rainforest. Part of this dust comes from the Bodélé depression, which is an ancient lake that covered part of Chad at the time when the Sahara was green, several thousand years ago. It has disappeared, and the current Lake Chad is somehow a remnant.
The bottom of the Bodélé depression, located approximately 17°N and 17°E, is rich in dust from the microorganisms that lived in this ancient lake. This region, between the mountains of Tibesti and Ennedi, experiences violent local winds in winter that lift clouds of dust.
The transport of this particular dust is a source of nutrients needed by plants especially phosphorus, but also potassium, soluble iron... Thus the largest desert feeds the largest rainforest in the world.
This dust from the Sahara can also reach the Amazon rain forest, the Caribbean zone and even the southern part of United States.
In spring and summer, SW currents frequently bring mineral dust from central Sahara to Western Europe. The early spring that we know this year in this part of Europe because of the blocked high pressure is causing a rise in temperatures and the transport of dust from the Sahara as shown by this map from Windy. The southern flow on the west flank of the anticyclonic ridge carries this dust over Spain, the west of France, Great Britain and Ireland, up to Norway.
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