Understanding the nature of atmospheric acid processing of mineral dusts in supplying bioavailable phosphorus to the oceans

Anthony Stockdale, Michael D. Krom, Robert J. G. Mortimer, Liane G. Benning, Kenneth S. Carslaw, Ross J. Herbert, Zongbo Shi, Stelios Myriokefalitakis, Maria Kanakidou, Athanasios Nenes
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1608136113

The climate-changing desert dust fertilising our oceans

What is it about?

In an international study led by the University of Leeds, researchers have pinpointed how much phosphate “fertiliser” is released from dust depending on atmospheric acid levels (acids released by the burning of fossil fuels).

Why is it important?

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for all life, and when it falls into the ocean, it acts as a fertiliser that stimulates the growth of phytoplankton and marine life. The new study allows scientists to quantify exactly how much phosphate “fertiliser” is released from dust depending on atmospheric acid levels.

Perspectives

Anthony Stockdale (Author)

It is important to state that while this is a positive feedback from fossil fuel burning it does not come close to compensating for the negative feedbacks. This includes severe impacts to the oceans from acidification with increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. What this data will do, is enable us to better predict future impacts by enabling these processed to be included in modelling of future climate scenarios.

The following have contributed to this page: Anthony Stockdale