Dust that blew into the North Pacific Ocean could help explain why the Earth’s climate cooled 2.7 million years ago, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.
One of the co-authors was Alex Pullen, an assistant professor of environmental engineering and earth sciences at Clemson University.
“Why study the past? It’s a great predictor of the future,” he said. “The findings of this study were both interesting and very unexpected.”
Researchers were interested in dust because when it blows off land and into the ocean, the iron in it fertilizes the water like farmers do their fields. Through photosynthesis, tiny organisms that live in the ocean surface waters pull carbon-dioxide out of the atmosphere, which usually means cooler temperatures.
Read more at Clemson University
Image: Alex Pullen looks through a microscope at the L.G. Rich Environmental Laboratory at Clemson University. (Credit: Clemson University)