Namib Desert Recycles Fog and Dew

Credit: Image: REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov.

Cindy Fox Aisen of the The World Economic Forum (WEF), reported on the phenomena of the ocean not being the “sole source of life-sustaining fog and dew for the Namib Desert’s” flora and fauna.

Ecohydrologist – from ecohydrology, which is the field for studying the interactions of ecosystems and water – Lixin Wang, assistant professor of earth sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said, “Knowing exactly where the fog and dew come from will help us predict the availability of non-rainfall water in the future…we may be able to determine ways to harvest novel water sources for potential use in water-scarcity situations.”

So, there’s fog from the ocean and fog from soil, or ocean-derived fog and non-ocean-derived fog. According to the WEF, non-ocean-derived fog accounts for half of the fog in Namib, which was based on a one-year study of the phenomena.

There’s soil water and ground water. Soil water is below the surface and groundwater is higher. When rainfall comes, then it seeps into the ground, and the rainfall eventually becomes the fog. Soil water, in other words, “turns out to be an unexpected source of moisture.”

In light of global warming or climate change, which is the increase in temperature of the Earth due to human activity starting with the First Industrial Revolution, many areas of the Earth are becoming drier, and drier, and unable to hold as much water because warm water evaporates.

Warmer land becomes drier land. “With global warming, more areas in the United States and around the world are becoming drier and more desert-like,” the WEF said.

The programme officer for the earth sciences division of the National Science Foundation, Tom Torgerson, said, “In the driest places on the planet, even seemingly minor components of the water cycle, such as fog and dew, become major and are critical to keeping the environment alive and functioning.”

There is a consistency in the ecosystems around the world with their hydrological cycles, The Namib Desert, or Namib in general, is no different. It borders the Atlantic Ocean by precisely 2,000 kilometres with a temperature range of 0°C to 60°C.

It is “almost completely devoid of surface water.” Throughout the entire year, very few days have rain. Some years have no rain, with at most 2 to 3 inches, maybe 4 inches, and the flora and fauna of the area survive because of fog and dew.

Wang described the “long-term goal” as the expansion of the Namib research into the globe.

About Scott Jacobsen 318 Articles
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.

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