Wind

Wind is a very noticeable and extremely important component of the Namib. One of its most obvious effects is the formation of sand dunes. The prevailing south westerly wind at the coast maintains the cool inversion layer of air that prevents turbulence and rain forming. On NamibRand during the summer, westerly winds usually blow strongly in the afternoon, by the evening they bring a welcome respite from the heat of the day. On occasions the notorious east wind, or berg wind, is dominant and often follows very soon after any rain which the desert may have received. Wind regimes on NamibRand do not always follow the same pattern as in the Namib Sand Sea. Complex wind regimes are produced locally by topography (shape of the landscape e.g. mountains and valleys) and the strong thermal gradients between the coast and the escarpment. These, in combination with movement of large pressure systems in the interior or over the ocean are what give us our complex pattern of winds.

Wind is important for the desert ecosystem. Many plants rely on wind for dispersal, such as annual grasses, grass seeds are blown huge distances across the desert. Wind also transports detritus, which is food for many desert animals. You have only to look at the base of a dune slipface following a strong wind to see the detritus piles and the number of beetles feeding there.