Winds can transport Patagonian dust far away from its source. Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Thomas Painter studies the effects of dust on snow and ice. He notes a correlation between the introduction of sheep to Patagonia around 1935 and an increase in dust deposition on the Antarctic Peninsula. “When you look at the circulation, it goes across Patagonia and then it wraps around the Weddell Sea.”
Closer to Patagonia, dust plumes can sometimes prompt phytoplankton blooms by carrying iron and other nutrients to nearby ocean waters.