NASA’s CALIPSO satellite tracks how much dust makes the trans-Atlantic journey from the Sahara Desert to the Amazon rainforest. Among this dust is phosphorus, an essential nutrient that acts like a fertilizer, which the Amazon depends on in order to flourish.
The new dust transport estimates were derived from data collected by NASA’s satellite from 2007 though 2013. An average of 27.7 million tons of dust per year fall to the surface over the Amazon basin. The phosphorus portion, an estimated 22,000 tons per year, is about the same amount as that lost from rain and flooding.
In the video below, checkout how the dust travels from Saharan Desert to the Amazon in 3-D.