Desert

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

  • 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. […]

  • Did ancient irrigation technology travel Silk Road?
    on January 4, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Using satellite imaging and drone reconnaissance, archaeologists have discovered an ancient irrigation system that allowed a farming community in northwestern China to raise livestock and cultivate crops in one of the world's driest desert climates. […]

  • Study predicts a significantly drier world at 2ºC
    on January 1, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    New research predicts a significantly drier world if global warming reaches 2ºC. Over a quarter of the world's land could become significantly drier and the change would cause an increased threat of drought and wildfires. Limiting warming to under 1.5ºC would dramatically reduce the fraction of the Earth's surface that undergoes such changes. Areas which would most benefit from keeping warming below 1.5ºC include Central America, Southern Europe, Southern Australia, parts of South East Asia, and Southern Africa. […]

  • How much can late Permian ecosystems tell us about modern Earth? A lot
    on December 11, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    New paleontological research shows that during the late Permian, the equator was dry and desert-like, yet surprisingly a hotspot for biodiversity. Similarly to modern rainforests, equator ecosystems were home to a unique diversity of species, including those both anciently and newly evolved. After the late Permian extinction, this diversity was decimated, and the climate change event that triggered an extinction back then is informative as we move forward with protecting our planet's species diversity. […]

  • Slight climate shifts can affect optimum water use in plant communities
    on November 20, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    A new discovery is providing scientists a better understanding of how rainfall is shared beneficially by the plant community and the human population, in addition to the effects of climate change. […]

  • What makes soil, soil? Researchers find hidden clues in DNA
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Ever wondered what makes a soil, soil? And could soil from the Amazon rainforest really be the same as soil from your garden? […]