Employee information:

Name: Michelle Does van der
Department: Ocean Systems Sciences (OCS)
Email: Michelle.van.der.Does(at)nioz.nl
Telephone: +31 (0)222 369 396


PhD Project:

TRAFFIC: Transatlantic fluxes of Saharan dust and ocean-climate impacts (NWO).

Approximately 200 million tons of Saharan dust are transported over the Atlantic Ocean every year. This dust can have an influence on climate, both directly and indirectly. The dust can have a cooling or warming effect on climate, and this depends on particle characteristics including chemical composition and size. Furthermore, dust can transport adsorbed nutrients and trace elements, as well as viable spores, pathogens and microbes. Dust generation, transportation and deposition can in turn also be influenced by many climatic and environmental processes. However, the link between Saharan dust and climate is still far from understood.

For this study I focus on lateral and seasonal changes in grain size and shape, flux and composition of Saharan dust, along a transect in the Atlantic Ocean at 12˚N. This transect lies directly underneath the largest dust plume originating from the African continent. Samples from submarine sediment traps and floating dust collectors, with 16-day resolution, will be compared to monthly-resolved samples from two on-land dust collectors in Mauritania and the Caribbean.

These sediment traps have been deployed during RV Meteor Expedition M89 in 2012, and during RV Pelagia Expedition 64PE378 in 2013 the traps have been serviced and the floating dust collectors were deployed. During cruises 64PE395 (RV Pelagia) in January 2015 and JC134 (RRS James Cook) in March-April 2016, the traps and the floating dust collectors were serviced and redeployed.

The project is in close collaboration with colleagues at the NIOZ – Dr. Jan-Berend Stuut, Dr. Chris Munday and Laura Korte (Project DustTraffic), and MARUM, Bremen – Carmen Friese (Project CCP1).

Recently published paper in Atmospheric Science and Physics, discussion the particle-size results of the first year of sediment-trap sampling:



See also: www.nioz.nl/dust