The Big Picture

A vast dust plume blows off Northern Africa. Photo: NASA/USGS
A vast dust plume blows off Northern Africa.
Photo: NASA/USGS

The dust of the Sahara is one of the world’s great transport methods for depositing minerals around the world. An estimated 60 – 200 million tons of mineral dust per year gets blown from the Sahara to points all across the globe, fertilizing the Amazon, affecting the weather, causing hazy skies, blanketing land and sea alike while providing the phytoplankton of the Mediterranean Sea with nutrients and adversely affecting the growth of coral reefs.

It’s a major global phenomenon that I only mention here and now because of this: The dust of the Sahara on our car in eastern France.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

On everyone’s cars, on all the plants and furniture outside, on the solar panels, on the windows and swirling on the streets.

At least I can feel a part of something much larger while I wait in line at the car wash.