Desert storms in Africa kick up giant clouds of dust. And scientists fear that these clouds can carry infectious organisms to other continents along with them.
You must be thinking, how it is possible for the bacteria to survive three miles above the ground, getting exposed to sun’s radiation? Yes, researchers found that bacteria and fungi strains not only did survive in these conditions, but also were able to grow, returning to Earth as the dust settles.
Lead scientist Dale Griffin of the US Geological Survey said,
Even if the UV kills 90% of the microbes, dust higher up in the cloud will shade those lower down, so you still get a phenomenal number surviving.
He further said,
If you have an outbreak of crop disease on the west coast of Africa or an outbreak of human disease and then you get an outbreak downwind some time later, we need to ask was it dust or not?
Via: The Guardian