From: ScienceDaily, Adapted from materials provided by University of Leeds
Published October 6, 2009 05:30 AM

Acidic Clouds Nourish World's Oceans

Scientists at the University of Leeds have proved that acid in the atmosphere breaks down large particles of iron found in dust into small and extremely soluble iron nanoparticles, which are more readily used by plankton.

This is an important finding because lack of iron can be a limiting factor for plankton growth in the ocean - especially in the southern oceans and parts of the eastern Pacific. Addition of such iron nanoparticles would trigger increased absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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"This could be a very important discovery because there's only a very small amount of soluble iron in the ocean and if plankton use the iron nanoparticles formed in clouds then the whole flux of bioavailable iron to the oceans needs to be revised," says Dr Zongbo Shi, lead author of the research from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds.

Article continues: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005102645.htm

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