Gobi Desert – the Wind is Up

THE GOBI DESERT – the Wind is UpHere’s a program from our archives.ambience: WindThe Gobi Desert covers half a million square miles in the heart of of Central Asia. It’s roughly five times as big as the state of Colorado. And if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be in the Gobi at this time of year – stay with us. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Novacek: The wind starts to pick up in the late spring and the early summer. Michael Novacek is curator of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. Since 1990, he’s led expeditions every summer to the Gobi Desert, exploring the rich fossil beds there– weather permitting.Novacek: A windstorm in the Gobi is pretty terrifying. So I see a cloud on the horizon starting to form and I notice that the wall of cloud coming in has a very definite shape. A solidity to it that’s very much unlike the clouds up in the sky. This moves in on you at tremendous speeds. I’ve had a foot race with a sandstorm where I’m still a mile away from the camp and I just break into a full sprint, trying to beat this storm and get to camp before it hits us full force so I can sit in a truck or maybe a strong tent or something. The wind is outrageously strong. If you’re even in your big truck, you feel a bit apprehensive because you think this vehicle is just going to topple over. We have very strong tents. Tents designed for climbers on Everest. Yet we’ve routinely had those tents destroyed by the force of the wind. Probably one of the most uncomfortable thing about the storm is the density of the air itself and you begin to suffocate. Even if you’re inside of a car, you feel like the sand and actually it is, is leaking through the cracks in the windows and so forth.More on the Gobi Desert in future programs. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Gobi Desert - the Wind is Up

Fierce windstorms in the Gobi Desert force scientists working there to think fast and run even faster.
Air Date:07/09/2021
Scientist:
Transcript:

THE GOBI DESERT - the Wind is UpHere's a program from our archives.ambience: WindThe Gobi Desert covers half a million square miles in the heart of of Central Asia. It's roughly five times as big as the state of Colorado. And if you've ever wondered what it's like to be in the Gobi at this time of year - stay with us. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Novacek: The wind starts to pick up in the late spring and the early summer. Michael Novacek is curator of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. Since 1990, he's led expeditions every summer to the Gobi Desert, exploring the rich fossil beds there-- weather permitting.Novacek: A windstorm in the Gobi is pretty terrifying. So I see a cloud on the horizon starting to form and I notice that the wall of cloud coming in has a very definite shape. A solidity to it that's very much unlike the clouds up in the sky. This moves in on you at tremendous speeds. I've had a foot race with a sandstorm where I'm still a mile away from the camp and I just break into a full sprint, trying to beat this storm and get to camp before it hits us full force so I can sit in a truck or maybe a strong tent or something. The wind is outrageously strong. If you're even in your big truck, you feel a bit apprehensive because you think this vehicle is just going to topple over. We have very strong tents. Tents designed for climbers on Everest. Yet we've routinely had those tents destroyed by the force of the wind. Probably one of the most uncomfortable thing about the storm is the density of the air itself and you begin to suffocate. Even if you're inside of a car, you feel like the sand and actually it is, is leaking through the cracks in the windows and so forth.More on the Gobi Desert in future programs. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.