News from the Columbia Climate School


Iron Fingerprints

Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC (reposted from
Saharan dust in the wind. Photo: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC (reposted from


Metals galore in deep Earth,

But at the sea surface, a dearth.

Iron is key

For greening the sea …

To planktic cells, gold has less worth.


Whence this precious resource?

Isotopes hint at the source.

Dust takes the lead,

While vents slowly bleed,

Could inputs affect climate’s course?



Further reading:

Ocean chemistry: Fingerprints of a trace nutrient, Resing and Barrett, Nature 2014

Quantification of dissolved iron sources to the North Atlantic Ocean, Conway and John, Nature 2014

This is one in a series of poems written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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