Tiny Specks, Big Effects—Dust Out of Africa

The Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences Division of Math, Science, and Technology will continue the Climate-Sustainability Lecture Series with “Tiny Specks, Big Effects.” Presented by Eugene A. Shinn, Ph.D., courtesy professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, this presentation will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., in the Mailman-Hollywood Building, second-floor auditorium.

Despite their tiny sizes (nanometer to micrometer), dust particles have big effects on global climate, human health, and ecosystem balance. In South Florida and the Caribbean, African dust is frequently found in the air, clouds, and soil through transatlantic transport, sometimes in huge amounts. African dust storms serve as umbrellas in reducing sunlight and suppression of sea-surface temperatures. Dust storms may also be directly related to hurricane activity.

Although transport has occurred for the past million years, dust today contains pesticides and other potentially toxic chemicals that are new to the planet and potentially harmful to humans. On the other hand, iron transported in dust can stimulate red tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. In this presentation, Shinn will discuss the various effects of dust on Earth’s environment.

The Climate-Sustainability Lecture Series aims to increase the understanding of the science behind and impact of climate change. Experts in related fields from within NSU and other institutions are featured speakers. The series gives faculty members and students the opportunity to discuss the scientific, technological, and policy aspects of climate change.

For more information, contact Song Gao, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences.

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