Educational Resources

The influence of dry deserts on tropical rain forests

Satellite image showing a massive sandstorm blowing off the northwest African desert.  The storm is blanketing hundreds of thousands of square miles of the eastern Atlantic Ocean with a dense cloud of Saharan sand. NASA SeaWiFS image acquired February 26, 2000.
Satellite image showing a massive sandstorm blowing off the northwest African desert. The storm is blanketing hundreds of thousands of square miles of the eastern Atlantic Ocean with a dense cloud of Saharan sand. NASA SeaWiFS image acquired February 26, 2000.
Investigate how African dust storms transport particles with a unique chemical signature to downwind Caribbean Islands. Download rainwater chemistry data and look for seasonal patterns of Ca inputs. Interpret how this Ca compares with seasonal patterns of Saharan airflow and dust inputs.

Grades 13 - 16
Climatology/Meteorology • Biology/Ecology
Activity • Website


Educational Objectives

The objectives of this activity are to demonstrate that:

  1. Earth’s ecosystems and Critical Zones are inextricably linked via feedback processes, and,
  2. nutrients that feed ecosystems can be derived from outside the system.

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Audience
Higher Education


NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns | Systems and System Models | Stability and Change

NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Analyzing and Interpreting Data

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: LS2 - Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics | ESS2 - Earth’s Systems


Observatory: Luquillo CZO

Author(s): Adam Wymore (Luquillo CZO, Univ New Hampshire) Nick Guy (University of Wyoming), William H. McDowell (Luquillo CZO, Univ New Hampshire)


Funding: NSF CZO