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Thomas, D.S.G., Knight, M. and Wiggs, G.F.S. 2005. Remobilization of southern African desert dune systems by twenty-first century global warming. Nature, 435: 1218-1221


Description:

Although desert dunes cover 5 per cent of the global land surface and 30 per cent of Africa, the potential impacts of twenty-first century global warming on desert dune systems are not well understood.

Summary / Notes:

The inactive Sahel and southern African dune systems, which developed in multiple arid phases since the last interglacial period, are used today by pastoral and agricultural systems that could be disrupted if climate change alters twentyfirst century dune dynamics. Empirical data and model simulations have established that the interplay between dune surface erodibility (determined by vegetation cover and moisture availability) and atmospheric erosivity (determined by wind energy) is critical for dunefield dynamics. Our results suggest that dunefields are likely to be reactivated (the sand will become significantly exposed and move) as a consequence of twenty-first century climate warming.

Year: 2005

Type: Journal Article

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