Desert News -- ScienceDaily Read all about the desert biome, including articles on desertification, semi-arid conditions and more.

  • Dust deposits give new insights into the history of the Sahara
    on July 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Remote Saharan dust influences Earth's radiation budget and tropical North Atlantic ocean-atmosphere temperature variability that might even attenuate Hurricane activity. In a new research study an international team of geoscientists reconstructed the history of Saharan dust storms during the last 12,000 years. The researchers identified several millennial-scale phases of enhanced Saharan dust supplies during the transition of the former 'green Sahara' to the present-day hyper-arid desert. […]

  • Using treated graywater for irrigation is better for arid environments
    on July 12, 2017 at 11:27 am

    'This condition, called 'graywater-induced hydrophobicity,' is likely temporary and disappears quickly following rainwater or freshwater irrigation events,' says a researcher. 'However, it is a more significant concern in arid lands with negligible rainfall as compared with wetter regions.' […]

  • Unlocking the secrets of the Sahara
    on July 7, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    A peat bog in Romania provides a new insight into our knowledge of when the Sahara began to transform from grassland into the desert we know today, and the impact this had on dust deposition within Eastern Europe. […]

  • Know your enemy: Exposing threatened species to predators improves evasive behaviors
    on July 5, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    A study of burrowing bettongs in the Australian desert has shown for the first time that exposing threatened native animals to small numbers of predators in the wild teaches them how to avoid their enemies. The new findings could assist in the successful reintroduction of bettongs back onto the mainland. […]

  • The dust storm microbiome
    on June 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    The airborne dust carried in sand storms affects the health of people and ecosystems alike. New research suggests that part of the effect might not be in the particles of dust but rather in bacteria that cling to them, traveling many kilometers in the air with the storms. […]

  • Dryland cropping systems research addresses future drought and hunger issues
    on June 16, 2017 at 1:37 am

    The projected world population by 2056 is 10 billion. If researchers succeed in improving the yield potential of 40 percent of global land area under arid and semi-arid conditions, it will lead to a significant contribution to future food security. […]

  • Sahara greening may intensify tropical cyclone activity worldwide
    on June 8, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Future climate warming could lead to a re-greening of the southernmost Sahara (Sahel), with decreased dust emissions and changes in land cover. In a recent study, researchers have found that tropical cyclone activity may have increased during past warm climates in connection with a greening of the Sahara. […]

  • Increased leaf abundance is a double-edged sword
    on May 25, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    A new global assessment reveals that increases in leaf abundance are causing boreal areas to warm and arid regions to cool. The results suggest that recent changes in global vegetation have had impacts on local climates that should be considered in the design of local mitigation and adaptation plans. […]

  • Summer rainfall in vulnerable African region can be predicted
    on May 25, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Summer rainfall in one of the world's most drought-prone regions can now be predicted months or years in advance, climate scientists say. […]

  • Metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk, study suggests
    on May 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world's largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses, researchers warn. […]

  • Increasing aridity and land-use overlap have potential to cause social and economic conflict in...
    on May 23, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Drylands are of environmental concern because broad-scale changes in these systems have the potential to affect 36 percent of the world's human population, suggests new research. […]

  • New tool could help predict, prevent surging waters in flood plains
    on May 12, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    A group of international scientists studying China's Yellow River has created a new tool that could help officials better predict and prevent its all-too-frequent floods, which threaten as many as 80 million. […]

  • More natural dust in the air improves air quality in eastern China
    on May 11, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Human-made pollution in eastern China's cities worsens when less dust blows in from the Gobi Desert, according to a new study. That's because dust plays an important role in determining the air temperatures and thereby promoting winds to blow away human-made pollution. Less dust means the air stagnates, with human-made pollution becoming more concentrated and sticking around longer. […]

  • Global warming accounts for tripling of extreme West African Sahel storms
    on April 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Global warming is responsible for a tripling in the frequency of extreme West African Sahel storms observed in just the last 35 years, an international team of experts has reported. […]

  • Geologist discovers whirlwind phenomena in Andes mountains
    on April 24, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    There's a lot to be learned from the winds in a Chilean desert--everything from surviving tornadoes on Earth to planning travel to Mars, with surviving climate change in between, suggests a researcher. […]

  • A better life in the outback: Improving living standards in the Australian desert region
    on April 19, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    People who live in desert regions are perceived as living in hardship and isolation and surviving largely due to subsidies from the 'mainstream' economy. New research suggests that for some desert regions, particularly Australia's 'outback', there is huge potential given appropriate infrastructure and investment. […]

  • Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun
    on April 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    While it's easy to condense water from humid air, machines that harvest water from drier air require energy. Researchers have created the first water harvester that uses only ambient sunlight. The key component is an extremely porous material called a metal-organic framework that absorbs 20 percent of its weight in water from low-humidity air. Sunlight heats the MOF, releasing the water vapor, which condenses to produce liters of water per day. […]

  • Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
    on March 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Dust from as far away as the Gobi Desert in Asia is providing more nutrients than previously thought for plants, including giant sequoias, in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, a team of scientists have found. […]

  • Study of non-rainfall water in Namib Desert reveals unexpected origins
    on March 22, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    In a study conducted in one of the world's oldest and most biologically diverse deserts, scientists explore the origins of water other than rainfall and are identifying multiple origins. The study is the first to report that the ocean is not the sole source of life-sustaining fog and dew for numerous plants and animals living in the Namib Desert. […]

  • Looking for signs of the Big Bang in the desert
    on March 21, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    The silence of an immense desolate land in which to search for reverberations coming from the time at which everything began. The Simons Observatory will be built in the Chilean Atacama desert at an altitude of several thousand meters for the purposes of studying primordial gravitational waves which originated in the first instants of the Big Bang. […]

  • Changing temperatures, precipitation may affect living skin of drylands
    on March 15, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new study. […]

  • Did humans create the Sahara desert?
    on March 14, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    New research investigating the transition of the Sahara from a lush, green landscape 10,000 years ago to the arid conditions found today, suggests that humans may have played an active role in its desertification. […]

  • US desert songbirds at risk in a warming climate
    on March 8, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Rising temperatures and heatwaves are putting songbirds at greater risk for death by dehydration and mass die-offs, report scientists. […]

  • Winners and losers: Climate change will shift vegetation
    on February 21, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Projected global warming will likely decrease the extent of temperate drylands by one-third over the remainder of the 21st century coupled with an increase in dry deep soil conditions during agricultural growing season. […]

  • Desert songbirds may face expanding threat of lethal dehydration
    on February 13, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    A new study of songbird dehydration and survival risk during heat waves in the desert Southwest suggests that some birds are at risk of lethal dehydration and mass die-offs when water is scarce, and the risk is expected to increase as climate change advances. Using physiological data, hourly temperature maps and modeling, researchers investigated how rates of evaporative water loss varied in five bird species with varied body mass. […]

  • Limited sign of soil adaptation to climate warming
    on January 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    While scientists and policy experts debate the impacts of global warming, Earth’s soil is releasing roughly nine times more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than all human activities combined. This huge carbon flux from soil, which is due to the natural respiration of soil microbes and plant roots, begs one of the central questions in climate change science. As the global climate warms, will soil respiration rates increase, adding even more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and accelerating climate change? […]

  • Green Sahara's ancient rainfall regime revealed
    on January 18, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Rainfall patterns in the Sahara during the 6,000-year 'Green Sahara' period have been pinpointed by analyzing marine sediments. From 5,000 to 11,000 years ago, what is now the Sahara Desert had ten times the rainfall it does today and was home to hunter-gatherers who lived in the region's savannahs and wooded grasslands. The new research is the first to compile a continuous record of the region's rainfall going 25,000 years into the past. […]

  • Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict
    on January 13, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Researchers have concluded that the most likely cause of a giant dust storm that struck the Middle East in 2015 was climate and unusual weather rather than conflict. […]

  • Are herders, livestock bad for rare wildlife? It's complicated
    on January 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    A new article looks at the positive and negative relationships occurring between pastoralists, livestock, native carnivores and native herbivores in the world’s largest unfenced grassland and desert. […]

  • NASA study finds a connection between wildfires, drought
    on January 10, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    For centuries drought has come and gone across northern sub-Saharan Africa. In recent years, water shortages have been most severe in the Sahel -- a band of semi-arid land situated just south of the Sahara Desert and stretching coast-to-coast across the continent, from Senegal and Mauritania in the west to Sudan and Eritrea in the east. […]