Expansion and Contraction of the Sahara Desert from 1980 to 1990

Science  19 Jul 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5017, pp. 299-300
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5017.299


Data from polar-orbiting meteorological satellites have been used to determine the extent of the Sahara Desert and to document its interannual variation from 1980 to 1990. The Sahara Desert ranged from 8,633,000 square kilometers in 1980 to 9,982,000 square kilometers in 1984. The greatest annual north-south latitudinal movement of the southern Saharan boundary was 110 kilometers from 1984 to 1985 and resulted in a decrease in desert area of 724,000 square kilometers.