Desert

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

  • Does rain follow the plow?
    on August 10, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    There are many factors that play a role in whether or not it rains, and new research shows that human activity may be one of them. […]

  • Mojave Desert birds crashed over the last century due to climate change
    on August 7, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    More than 100 years ago, biologists conducted a thorough survey of birds in the Mojave Desert. A recent resurvey shows that the species richness of the desert habitat has dropped by 43 percent over the past century, on average, at the sites revisited. The main environmental change correlated with bird decline was a decrease in rainfall caused by climate change, which suggests that temporary sources of water might help prevent further decline. […]

  • Monsoon rains found to be beneficial to underground aquifers
    on August 1, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Using a combination of field instrumentation, unmanned aerial vehicles and a hydrologic model, a team of researchers has been studying the fate of monsoon rainfall and its impact on groundwater recharge in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico. […]

  • Dust carried by rainwater across Texas: Study sheds light on composition
    on July 10, 2018 at 12:29 am

    Across the US Southwest, severe drought and land?use change are projected to increase in the future, contributing to more frequent and intense dust storms and eventually dry dust fallout and dust washout from the atmosphere with rain. How will Dust Bowl-like conditions affect raining dust events? […]

  • Mars valleys traced back to precipitation
    on June 28, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    The valley networks of Mars bear a strong resemblance to those found in arid landscapes on Earth. Researchers have been able to demonstrate this using the branching angles of river valley confluences. Based on these observations, they infer that Mars once had a primeval climate in which sporadic heavy precipitation eroded valleys. […]

  • New World Atlas of Desertification shows unprecedented pressure on planet's resources
    on June 21, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    The World Desertification Atlas by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global level and highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures. […]

  • Painted lady's roundtrip migratory flight is the longest recorded in butterflies
    on June 13, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Researchers found that painted lady butterflies return from the Afrotropical region to recolonize the Mediterranean in early spring, traveling an annual distance of 12,000 km across the Sahara Desert. […]

  • In desert trials, next-generation water harvester delivers fresh water from air
    on June 9, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Scientists who last year built a prototype harvester to extract water from the air using only the power of the sun have scaled up the device to see how much water they can capture in arid conditions in Arizona. Using a kilogram of MOF, they were able to capture about 7 ounces of water from low-humidity air each 24-hour day/night cycle. A new and cheaper MOF could double that. […]

  • Desert bighorn sheep are crossing Interstate 40 in California
    on June 6, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Desert bighorn sheep are able to climb steep, rocky terrain with speed and agility. New research shows that they can cross a four-lane highway. […]

  • Some desert creatures may be able to cope with climate change better than expected
    on May 24, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Ecologists have no doubt that climate change will affect the earth's animals and plants. But how exactly? This is often hard to predict. There are already indications that some species are shifting their distribution range. But it is much less clear how individual animals and populations are responding to the changes. Scientists have been studying nocturnal desert geckos to see how they are adapting to climatic changes. […]

  • Explaining the history of Australia's vegetation
    on May 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    New research has uncovered the history of when and why the native vegetation that today dominates much of Australia first expanded across the continent. […]

  • Major shifts in global freshwater
    on May 16, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    A new global, satellite-based study of Earth's freshwater found that Earth's wet areas are getting wetter, while dry areas are getting drier. The data suggest this pattern is due to many factors, including human water management practices, human-caused climate change and natural climate cycles. […]

  • Navigating with the sixth sense: Desert ants sense Earth's magnetic field
    on April 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Desert ants use the Earth's magnetic field for orientation. This provides ants the cue to find their way back to the nest. […]

  • Meteorite diamonds tell of a lost planet
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Scientists have examined a slice from a meteorite that contains large diamonds formed at high pressure. The study shows that the parent body from which the meteorite came was a planetary embryo of a size between Mercury and Mars. […]

  • 100th meridian: East-west divide between moist and arid parts of U.S. may be shifting
    on April 11, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Nearly a century and a half after explorer John Wesley Powell zeroed in on the 100th meridian west as the dividing line between the humid east and arid west of the United States, researchers say he was right -- but that climate change is now moving the line eastward, into the traditionally fertile Midwest. The effects on U.S. farming and other pursuits could be huge. […]

  • First human migration out of Africa more geographically widespread than previously thought
    on April 9, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Scientists have discovered a fossilized finger bone of an early modern human in the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia, dating to approximately 90,000 years ago. The discovery is the oldest directly dated Homo sapiens fossil outside of Africa and the Levant and indicates that early dispersals into Eurasia were more expansive than previously thought. […]

  • The Sahara Desert is expanding
    on March 29, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    The Sahara Desert has expanded by about 10 percent since 1920, according to a new study. The research is the first to assess century-scale changes to the boundaries of the world's largest desert and suggests that other deserts could be expanding as well. […]

  • In field tests, device harvests water from desert air
    on March 22, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    You really can extract clean drinking water right from the air, even in the driest of deserts, researchers have found. They've demonstrated a real-world version of a water-harvesting system based on metal organic frameworks, or MOFs, that they first described last year. […]

  • Flight delays: Study finds out why some African birds stay home longer
    on March 21, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    Parents of millennials still living at home aren't the only ones with children that refuse to leave. Many animal species have adult offspring that are slow to take flight, but when and how they leave has been poorly understood by scientists. Now, new research on a desert-dwelling African bird is yielding some answers. […]

  • The absence of ants: Entomologist confirms first Saharan farming 10,000 years ago
    on March 16, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    By analysing a prehistoric site in the Libyan desert, a team of researchers has been able to establish that people in Saharan Africa were cultivating and storing wild cereals 10,000 years ago. In addition to revelations about early agricultural practices, there could be a lesson for the future, if global warming leads to a necessity for alternative crops. […]

  • Wind moves microinvertebrates across desert
    on March 13, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Research has yielded the first evidence of how waterborne microinvertebrates move across vast expanses of arid desert. A new study details for the first time how high desert winds disperse small invertebrates and how they colonize hydrologically disconnected basins throughout the region. […]

  • Desertification and monsoon climate change linked to shifts in ice volume and sea level
    on March 7, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    The East Asian summer monsoon and desertification in Eurasia is driven by fluctuating Northern Hemisphere ice volume and global sea level during the Ice Age, as shown in a new study. Today, two thirds of the world’s population is dependent on agriculture sustained by rains of the East Asian summer monsoon, and future climate change in this region can therefore have a major impact on global food production. […]

  • Glaciers in Mongolia's Gobi Desert actually shrank during the last ice age
    on March 6, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    High in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, the climate is so dry and cold that glaciers shrank during the last ice age. Dating of rock deposits shows how glaciers in this less-studied region behave very differently as the climate shifts. […]

  • Just conservation is where environmental issues and social justice commingle
    on March 1, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Social justice and environmental conservation are considered great values in our society. However, in some conservation efforts, conflicts arise. […]

  • Life in world's driest desert seen as sign of potential life on Mars
    on February 26, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    For the first time, researchers have seen life rebounding in the world's driest desert, demonstrating that it could also be lurking in the soils of Mars. […]

  • Extinct lakes of the American desert west
    on February 22, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    The vestiges of lakes long extinct dot the landscape of the American desert west. These fossilized landforms provide clues of how dynamic climate has been over the past few million years. […]

  • Theory suggests root efficiency, independence drove global spread of flora
    on February 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Researchers suggest that plants spread worldwide thanks to root adaptations that allowed them to become more efficient and independent. As plant species spread, roots became thinner so they could more efficiently explore poor soils for nutrients, and they shed their reliance on symbiotic fungi. The researchers report that root diameter and reliance on fungi most consistently characterize the plant communities across entire biomes such as deserts, savannas and temperate forests. […]

  • By 2100, arid cities will suffer from more severe heat waves than temperate cities
    on February 13, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    By 2100, arid cities like Phoenix will become hotbeds for heatwaves compared to their rural surroundings, while cities on the eastern seaboard will be less severely affected by heatwaves compared to theirs. The findings highlight the importance of heat-mitigation strategies and infrastructures such as green roofs. […]

  • Climate change and snowmelt -- turn up the heat, but what about humidity?
    on January 22, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Changes in humidity may determine how the contribution of snowpack to streams, lakes and groundwater changes as the climate warms. Surprisingly, cloudy, gray and humid winter days can actually cause the snowpack to warm faster, increasing the likelihood of melt during winter months when the snowpack should be growing, the authors report. In contrast, under clear skies and low humidity the snow can become colder than the air, preserving the snowpack until spring. […]

  • In Antarctic dry valleys, early signs of climate change-induced shifts in soil
    on January 6, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    In a study spanning two decades, a team of researchers found declining numbers of soil fauna, nematodes and other animal species in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, one of the world's driest and coldest deserts. […]