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African Dust Aloft

African Dust Aloft

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this view of dust blowing out from Africa over Atlantic Ocean on March 29, 2017.

Dust picked up by winds from the Sahara and other North African deserts is often carried to the Caribbean Sea and the Americas. In fact, dust events deliver about 40 million tons of dust each year from the Sahara to the Amazon River Basin alone. Research has shown that part of the reason the Amazon region is so fertile is because of the vast mineral nutrients carried on the winds from Africa.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.

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