Monday, March 1, 2010

2009 Australian Dust Storm and The Effects

Quite interesting is all I can think off.

[Map showing plume expansion rate, dircetion and growth of the Australian dust storm of 2009.]

"you have no doubt seen the surreal images of highly saturated red and orange airspace. For this event, air particulate readings were about 15,400 micrograms per cubic meter. A typical day registers at about 50 micrograms, and a bushfire registers around 500 micrograms per cubic meter. It was thick. What was interesting though when this 2-day event rapidly escalated was that its long-term effects were somehow overlooked in favor of the evocative photography of a Mars-like outback. Within two weeks after the flash storm, scientists realized that the event caused a massive shift of phosphates and nitrogen as 4000 tons of desert topsoil particulates were dumped in the Sydney Harbour. Beyond that, the estimates for materials dumped in the Tasman Sea were an astounding 3,000,000 tons. And, as if a massive simulation of ocean fertilization, it was believed that this spurned phytoplankton growth to triple. So, what was in limited supply–yet was needed to grow life–in the desert ocean is ironically abundant in desert land. Further estimates put the additional phytoplankton in the Sea at 2 million tons, and, more impressively, with that about 8 million tons of CO2 captured. Eight million tons; thats a full months of a coal-fired power plant CO2 emission. Estimates for the amount of fish spawned from the increased phytoplankton are not known, but one can only imagine. Storms spawn swarms. Ocean fertilization inadvertently simulated at a massive scale by nature itself. Should it still be called geo-engineering if, in fact, it already occurs naturally on a massive?"

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