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Science
FRONTIERS
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Wednesday 21:00-21:30
Frontiers explores new ideas in science, meeting the researchers who see the world through fresh eyes and challenge existing theories - as well as hearing from their critics. Many such developments create new ethical and moral questions and Frontiers is not afraid to consider these.
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Listen to 17 November
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Wednesday 17 November 2004
Clouds of dust

Atmospheric Dust

It’s estimated that at any one time, there are millions of tons of dust suspended in the atmosphere, but scientists are a long way from understanding its impact on the Earth’s climate and weather systems.

Last year, scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute showed for the first time that dust from the Taklamakan Desert in China had been deposited in the French Alps, more than 20,000 kilometres away.

Environmental Impact

Better monitoring and more sophisticated sensors are giving us a more accurate picture of the dust in the atmosphere.

But the unpredictable nature of dust events makes it extremely difficult to determine their impact on the Earth’s natural systems.

Peter Evans talks to geographers, oceanographers, environmentalists and climate modellers about atmospheric dust, one of the least understood, and most contradictory, components of the Earth’s atmosphere. 
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