NASA Discovers Unexpected Connection Between Saharan Desert & Amazonian Rainforest
Did you know: The Amazon Rainforest would be a desert were it not for dust from the actual Saharan Desert half a world away.
NASA scientists recently discovered that winds transport over 27 million tons of phosphorous-rich soil of the Saharan's Bodélé Depression - an ancient riverbed - to the Amazon yearly. Without this transfusion of nutrients, the heavy rains of the Amazon would wash out nutrients from the rainforest's soil and leave the landscape barren within years. Nature has an uncanny way of re-allocating resources from areas where they're un-used to areas where they're essential.
We're just beginning to understand how the world - as a cohesive ecosystem - works. This discovery, in particular, is an example of how the world re-balances resources from areas where they're inert to areas where they're vital, and offers a new model for how we, as humans, can do the same.
We've reached an interesting and critical point as a species. Modern technology and commerce has created international systems of commerce. At the same time, our ability to research the world as a cohesive system is just beginning to reveal the interconnected of our world as one cohesive eco-system. Now is the time for us to take a step back and find the intersections between the two.
The products and remnants of international commerce should be studied, as we do the earth, as a cohesive ecosystem.
Re-allocating remnants of major food industries - like coconuts and rice- for agricultural development needs to be a focus over the next hundred years to ensure our planet will remain viable and healthy.
"The data show that wind and weather pick up on average 182 million tons of dust each year and carry it past the western edge of the Sahara at longitude 15W. This volume is the equivalent of 689,290 semi trucks filled with dust. The dust then travels 1,600 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, though some drops to the surface or is flushed from the sky by rain. Near the eastern coast of South America, at longitude 35W, 132 million tons remain in the air, and 27.7 million tons – enough to fill 104,908 semi trucks – fall to the surface over the Amazon basin. About 43 million tons of dust travel farther to settle out over the Caribbean Sea, past longitude 75W."