Where do non-rainfall waters found in deserts come from? Answering this question may help scientists uncover how dryland ecosystems, which cover 40% of the total land surface on Earth, will fare as temperatures continue rising.
A team from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (US) has worked on the topic, studying and characterising two distinct sources of water found in the Namib Desert in southern Africa – dew and fog.
Both dew and fog supply critical amounts of water to arid ecosystems but their origins and their role in the hydrological cycle have largely been understudied to date. This has hindered scientists' ability to predict the response of these ecosystems to future warming conditions.
In the study now published in Science Advances, researchers have conducted multiple stable isotope analyses to track down the origins of fog and dew, showing that they are multiple.