Jan-Berend Stuut appointed endowed professor Aeolian sedimentology

On March 1, 2021 Jan-Berend Stuut was appointed as endowed professor of Aeolian Sedimentology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. As a marine geologist, Stuut (NIOZ and VU) investigates the role of desert dust in the Earth’s climate both at present as well as in the past.

03/03/2021 | 2:54 PM

Jan-Berend Stuut is fascinated by dust from a marine perspective. Stuut explains: “There are many ways in which dust affects climate: it disperses nutrients and microbes, scatters light and heat, influences the formation of raindrops and clouds, but also suppresses the development of hurricanes.”

Desert dust from the Sahara contains nutrients, like phosphorus and silica as well as metals, like iron. It can therefore act as an ocean fertilizer that feeds phytoplankton. Through photosynthesis, phytoplankton sequesters atmospheric CO2 and produces the oxygen we breathe. “This makes desert dust an important factor in global climate”, said Stuut. “Dust has been influencing global climate on geological time scales and with marine sediments we can try to unravel the earth’s climate history and the role that dust played. In addition, dust can potentially serve as a tool to mitigate climate change.”

Through his appointment Stuut hopes to teach and inspire students and future researchers on the many roles that aeolian sediments play in the Earth System. “This new chair at VU Amsterdam offers many opportunities to connect various different scientific disciplines, just as wind-blown dust connects land, atmosphere, and ocean.”

You can receive updates on his work by following his frequent blog on Dust #welstoffignietsaai. For example on the Saharan dust outbreak in Europe.

Jan-Berend Stuut
Peter Smit presented Jan-Berend Stuut flowers and bubbles on behalf of the NIOZ management