What blows through the Sahara doesn’t stay in the Sahara. The vast African desert regularly burps up clouds of dust that fly into Europe, turning snow-capped mountains orange. They travel clear across the Atlantic Ocean, fertilizing the Amazon rain forest with phosphorus. The stuff can even reach the United States.
But for all their bluster, the Sahara’s dust emissions—and the grime from any other desert region—are not well accounted for in climate models. While satellites can track the plumes as they move around the atmosphere, scientists don’t have enough data to definitively show how
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