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Sand dune mobility under climate change in the Kalahari and Australian deserts

Summary: Sand dune mobility under climate change in the Kalahari
and Australian deserts
Y. Ashkenazy & H. Yizhaq & Haim Tsoar
Received: 24 June 2009 /Accepted: 31 August 2011
# Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
Abstract Vegetation cover on sand dunes mainly depends on wind power (drift
potential--DP) and precipitation. When this cover decreases below a minimal
percentage, dunes will start moving. It is therefore necessary to study the effects of
DP and precipitation on contemporary dune activity in order to predict likely future
dune mobility in the coming decades. We concentrate on the future activity of the
currently fixed dune fields of the Kalahari and the Australian deserts. These sand seas
include the largest areas of stabilized dunes in the world, and changes in their
mobility have significant economic implications. Global maps of DP are introduced,
based on real and reanalysis data. Analyses of two global circulation models (GFDL
and CGCM3.1) provide future predictions under the SRES-A1B IPCC scenario, which
is a moderate global warming scenario. According to the GFDL model, both the
Australian and Kalahari basin dunes will apparently remain stable towards the end of
the 21st century because the DP will stay small, while the rate of precipitation is
expected to remain much above the minimal threshold necessary for the vegetative
growth that leads to dune stabilization. The CGCM model predicts insignificant


Source: Ashkenazy, Yossi "Yosef" - Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research,Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Collections: Physics; Environmental Management and Restoration Technologies