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Book/Book Chapter 
The atmospheric transport of particles to the ocean 
Prospero, JM 
John Wiley & Sons Ltd 
Chichester, United Kingdom 
Particle flux in the ocean 
National Science Foundation. The atmosphere is an important pathway for the transport of materials from the continents to the oceans. Although the magnitude of these wind-borne fluxes is not accurately known, there is evidence that some could be large enough to have a significant impact on chemical and biological processes in the oceans. The concentration, composition and physical properties of particles in the marine atmosphere can vary greatly, depending on the distribution of sources, the controlling meteorological processes in the source regions, the large scale circulation systems that subsequently control long-range transport and, finally, the various removal processes that act on the particles and cause them to be deposited in the ocean. In order to assess the transport of continental materials to the oceans, we must have a good understanding of all these processes. The emphasis in this chapter is on mineral aerosol transport. Mineral dust is a substantial, at times major, component in the marine aerosol over many ocean regions. The principal sources of mineral dust are found in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world, especially those in North Africa, eastern Asia and the Middle East. These sources have a major impact on the mineral flux to the North Atlantic, the North Pacific and the northern Indian Ocean. This result is evident in the mineral assemblage distributions in the ocean sediments and it should also be reflected in the suspended particle distributions in these waters. In this chapter 1 will characterize the distributions of mineral dust over the oceans and discuss some of the factors that affect the transport and deposition of dust to the oceans. An important consideration is the short-term (i.e., days to weeks) temporal and spatial variability of dust deposition; because of the highly episodic character of dust events, the concentration of dust (and associated materials) in sea water can be highly variable. Dust fluxes also appear to be highly variable on longer time scales (i.e., decades and longer); some of the climatic factors that might affect this variability will be discussed. 
Ittekkot, V.; Schafer, P.; Honjo, S.; Depetris, P. J.