Gareth Delap

MSc in Environmental Science 2015

A Study of Diurnal Changes in Subsurface Moisture in Relation to Nightly Fog Precipitation in the Namib Desert.


This research thesis has examined the diurnal changes in moisture for the subsurface of a
selected sand dune located in the central Namib Desert, Namibia. It has also examined how these changes are related to nightly fog precipitation events. The aim of this research was to collect data on moisture content from the upper levels of the dune interior and to determine if the trends were related to diurnal cycles. A variety of experiments were set-up during the study so that external data gathered could be used to provide possible causal relationships.
This research encompassed aspects of climatology, oceanography and weather as the study was connected to fog precipitation events in the region. The most up-to-date instruments were used in this study, with the EasyAG® probes only being introduced to the desert field of academia. The results found that trends in subsurface moisture did indeed occur on a diurnal basis and they were heavily influenced by external factors. Results from experiments carried out in the field also confirm that there is a relationship to nightly fog precipitation events.
This research will hopefully open a new field of academic research which will help interpret how moisture operates in other arid regions of the world.