The obvious impact of dust emissions in rangelands is that fertility is leaving the site (Neff et al. 2005). The less obvious impacts occur sometimes halfway around the world. Some cities regularly experience crippling dust storms which impact human respiratory health and create blinding conditions on roadways. Beijing is an excellent example, where desertification-linked dust storms have gone from a decadal phenomenon to an annual one, even closing airports for days. In the southwest USA, an endemic fungus responsible for valley fever (a disease causing pheumonia-like symptoms) is transported in dust. Some of the more amazing impacts of dusts may be positive on a global scale, in terms of our prospects for sinking carbon. The two great photosynthetic engines of the Earth, the Amazon rainforest and the oceanic phytoplankton, are both subsidized by dust-borne nutrients from drylands (Fung et al. 2000, Koren et al. 2006, Mahowold 2010).
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