New research to boost global date fruit production

Today on World Food Day, a team of Plant Scientists from King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) has begun a major project to improve global date palm production and protection.

Rare 'itinerant breeding' behavior revealed in California bird

Reproduction and migration are the two most demanding tasks in a bird's life, and the vast majority of species separate them into different times of the year. Only two bird species have been shown to undertake what scientists ...

New evidence of the Sahara's age

The Sahara Desert is vast, generously dusty, and surprisingly shy about its age. New research looking into what appears to be dust that the Sahara blew over to the Canary Islands is providing the first direct evidence from ...

The rare molecule weighing in on the birth of planets

Astronomers using one of the most advanced radio telescopes have discovered a rare molecule in the dust and gas disc around a young star—and it may provide an answer to one of the conundrums facing astronomers.

Date palms picky about bacterial partners

Bacterial DNA sequencing analyses show date palms that are cultivated over a vast stretch of the Tunisian Sahara Desert consistently attract two types of growth-promoting bacteria to their roots, regardless of the location. ...

Desert plantations found to enhance rainfall

A pair of researchers at the University of Hohenheim has found evidence that suggests planting forests in desert areas can lead to an increase in local rainfall. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy ...

Atacama Desert microbes may hold clues to life on Mars

Microbial life on Mars may potentially be transported across the planet on dust particles carried by wind, according to a study conducted in the Atacama Desert in North Chile, a well-known Mars analogue. The findings are ...

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Desert

A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than 400 millimetres (16 in). A common definition distinguishes between true deserts, which receive less than 250 millimetres (10 in) of average annual precipitation, and semideserts or steppes, which receive between 250 millimetres (10 in) and 400 to 500 millimetres (16 to 20 in). Deserts can also be described as areas where more water is lost by evapotranspiration than falls as precipitation. In the Köppen climate classification system, deserts are classed as BWh (hot desert) or BWk (temperate desert). In the Thornthwaite climate classification system, deserts would be classified as arid megathermal climates.

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