Dust storm at sea could be a worry

SCIENTISTS expect the dust storm that shrouded the State could have a far greater toll on the Pacific Ocean, than it had in disrupting much of New South Wales.

The millions of tonnes of dust particles blown out to sea are expected to settle on the ocean surface, causing massive algal blooms.

The iron-rich dust is ideal in causing the growth of phytoplankton.

While these microscopic plant-like organisms are best described as the foundation of life in the ocean - even said to reverse global warming - too much of a good thing in the ocean is said to break down the marine food chain.

Read more about the dust storm

A spokesperson for Dust Watch, a network of scientists from Griffith University and the Department of Climate Change, says at times marine life cannot cope with an overload of phyktoplankton.

“The creation of phytoplankton is crucially dependent upon the availability of nutrients, though if there is an abundance such as after the dust storm it stimulates growth to abnormal levels,” the researcher said.

“When this happens phytoplankton absorb all the dissolved oxygen in the water creating a dead area where fish and aquatic animals cannot survive.”

Cleaning tips

The clean-up got under way yesterday with Australians starting to wipe away the red, iron-based particles from almost everything. Here are some green cleaning ideas:

  • Use a bucket to wash your car on the lawn; or go to a car wash that recycles the water.
  • Wash clothes and other fabrics such as curtains in a cold wash and only when the load is full.
  • For some more cheap, safe and effective 'green' cleaning recipes and tips for the car, living room, laundry and kitchen, download the brochure from the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/household


Welcome to Coughs Harbour
Climate change 'not cause' of dust
North Coast chokes in dust
Dust storm engulfs southern Queensland
Coast gets the red carpet treatment
Freak storm leaves Downs dusty
Dust haze covers Clarence Valley
North coast chokes in dust
Mackay braces for dust up
The day the dust came to Ipswich
Dust storm hits Fraser Coast
Dusty clouds storm Bundy
Storm arrives dust in time for tea
Warwick recovers from dust up

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