Chasing sandstorms at sea
9 March 2006
How do Saharan sandstorms feed Atlantic ocean life? Intrepid environment scientists are braving wind and waves to unravel the mysterious effects of desert dust as it falls from the sky and sinks into the sea. Antenna dives deeper...
This map shows concentrations of dust in the atmosphere. Highest concentrations appear red.
Image: modified from Mahowald and Jickells
This satellite image shows a Saharan dust cloud above the Atlantic ocean.
Phil Williamson, environmental scientist, University of East Anglia
Ellie Highwood, atmospheric scientist, University of Reading
The research plane is a BAE 146, specially equipped with probes and radiometers to sample the dust clouds.
Image: BAE Systems
The research ship Poseidon.
Image: Micha Rijkenberg
Watch this video and meet the scientists who have braved the elements aboard the Poseidon.
Video: Science Museum, The National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, Mark Stinchcombe, University of East Anglia, BAE Systems
Phytoplankton, like this one, live in the sunlit upper ocean.
Image: Alex Baker
'If the tiny plants like phytoplankton grow better, they take up more carbon dioxide. When they die, some of this carbon gets carried to the bottom of the sea, removing it from the atmosphere for thousands of years.' Eric Achterberg
Satellite image of Saharan dust moving across the Atlantic.
Image: Copyright 2004 EUMESAT
Hurricane Katrina tears across the Atlantic ocean.
Cape Verde's beautiful sunsets are down to the dust clouds too. Desert dust scatters blue light, leaving only red light to reach you - with breathtaking results.