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Study of non-rainfall water in Namib Desert reveals unexpected origins

Phys.org/news (MARCH 22, 2017 )

Titre : Study of non-rainfall water in Namib Desert reveals unexpected origins

In a study conducted in one of the world’s oldest and most biologically diverse deserts, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis scientists explore the origins of water other than rainfall and are identifying multiple origins. The study, supported by the National Science Foundation, 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.

Phys.org/news (MARCH 22, 2017 )

Présentation
Understanding the sources of water is essential for developing ecological models of arid environments and is key to understanding how plants and animals sustain themselves and function under current or future climates.

Fog and—to a lesser degree—dew are crucial sources of moisture in this desert environment. "Knowing exactly where the fog and dew come from will help us predict the availability of non-rainfall water in the future, both in the Namib and elsewhere," said Lixin Wang, an ecohydrologist and assistant professor of earth sciences in the School of Science at IUPUI, who led the new study. "With this knowledge, we may be able to determine ways to harvest novel water sources for potential use in water-scarcity situations."

Surprisingly, non-ocean-derived fog accounted for more than half of total fog events in the Namib over the one-year period of the IUPUI study. Groundwater-derived fog was the most significant locally generated fog, serving as a source of more than a quarter of the desert’s fog. Soil water, which derives from rainfall and is below the surface but located higher than groundwater, was also found by the researchers to be an unexpected source of moisture.

Source  : Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science

Annonce (Phys.org/news)

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