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News Release 18-018

New study finds world’s largest desert, the Sahara, has grown by 10 percent since 1920

Research is the first to assess century-scale changes to the Sahara's boundaries

Man walking up sand dune in the Sahara Desert.

Africa's Sahara Desert is expanding, encroaching on savanna ecosystems.

Credit: Luca Galuzzi


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Satellite image of the Sahara Desert and grasslands to the south.

Satellite image showing the Sahara Desert (beige) and savannas to the south (green).

Credit: NASA


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View of the sands of the Sahara Desert.

A seemingly endless sea of sand, the Sahara stretches to the horizon.

Credit: Wikimedia


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View of the transition zone between desert and savanna.

South of the Sahara is the Sahel transition zone between desert and savanna.

Credit: Mamadou Faye/courtesy Wassila Thiaw, NOAA


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A massive dust plume over the Atlantic Ocean, caused by a dust storm in the Sahara Desert.

An intense Saharan dust storm sends a massive dust plume northwestward over the Atlantic Ocean.

Credit: NASA


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