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Global iron connections between desert dust, ocean biogeochemistry, and climate.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Atmosphere, Carbon Dioxide, Climate, Desert Climate, Dust, Iron, metabolism, Oceans and Seas, Phytoplankton, physiology, Seawater, Soil

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      The environmental conditions of Earth, including the climate, are determined by physical, chemical, biological, and human interactions that transform and transport materials and energy. This is the "Earth system": a highly complex entity characterized by multiple nonlinear responses and thresholds, with linkages between disparate components. One important part of this system is the iron cycle, in which iron-containing soil dust is transported from land through the atmosphere to the oceans, affecting ocean biogeochemistry and hence having feedback effects on climate and dust production. Here we review the key components of this cycle, identifying critical uncertainties and priorities for future research.

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