How fast can a desert turn green?

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In the desert, water is life. Without it, the desert is brown and dusty. At our site, the rains come twice a year – once during the ‘winter’ (I put that in quotes for our readers where winter means snow and/or extended periods below freezing) and once during the summer. Water in the summer and water in the winter don’t have the same effect on the desert, though. Plants need both warmth and water to grow. When rain falls in the desert in the winter, growth is slow and typically waits until the warmer temperatures of spring. In the summer, though, the high temperatures and the rain from Arizona’s monsoons make for an explosive combination. How fast can the desert turn green? Here’s a series of photos from our site – one per day for a week that we think conveys this better than words. Enjoy the slide show:

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You might be wondering if that was it. Was that as green as the desert got? Here it is, as of yesterday, 3 and a half weeks after that first brown picture: August 1st was definitely not peak green:

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The grasses are greening up nicely and there is no bareground to be seen in the foreground.Water, heat, and sunshine – a very powerful combo indeed!

 

 

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2 Responses to “How fast can a desert turn green?”

  1. Portal Phenocam | The Portal Project Says:

    […] long-term research in desert ecology « How fast can a desert turn green? […]

  2. Morgan Ernest Says:

    Reblogged this on Jabberwocky Ecology and commented:

    Ever wondered how fast the desert can turn green when the rains get going? There’s a Portal blog post on that (with pics)!

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