1. bookVolume 69 (2021): Issue 4 (December 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
28 Mar 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Mapping past, present and future dew and rain water resources for biocrust evolution in southern Africa

Published Online: 15 Nov 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 69 (2021) - Issue 4 (December 2021)
Page range: 400 - 420
Received: 20 Jun 2021
Accepted: 01 Oct 2021
Journal Details
First Published
28 Mar 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Biocrust sustainability relies on dew and rain availability. A study of dew and rain resources in amplitude and frequency and their evolution is presented from year 2001 to 2020 in southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana, South Africa) where many biocrust sites have been identified. The evaluation of dew is made from a classical energy balance model using meteorological data collected in 18 stations, where are also collected rain data. One observes a strong correlation between the frequency of dew and rain and the corresponding amplitudes. There is a general tendency to see a decrease in dew yield and dew frequency with increasing distance from the oceans, located west, east and south, due to decreasing RH, with a relative minimum in the desert of Kalahari (Namibia). Rain amplitude and frequency decreases when going to west and north. Short-term dew/rain correlation shows that largest dew yields clearly occur during about three days after rainfall, particularly in the sites where humidity is less.

The evolution in the period corresponds to a decrease of rain precipitations and frequency, chiefly after 2010, an effect which has been cyclic since now. The effect is more noticeable towards north. An increase of dew yield and frequency is observed, mainly in north and south-east. It results in an increase of the dew contribution with respect to rain, especially after 2010. As no drastic changes in the distribution of biomass of biocrusts have been reported in this period, it is likely that dew should compensate for the decrease in rain precipitation. Since the growth of biocrust is related to dew and rain amplitude and frequency, future evolution should be characterized by either the rain cycle or, due to global change, an acceleration of the present tendency, with more dew and less rainfalls.


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