Can humans destroy the desert - the 216th Nautilus Auditorium begins


Deserts are widely distributed on earth and are considered to be one of the most demanding landscapes, full of danger and mystery. On the afternoon of May 21, 2023, the 216th Nautilus Auditorium of the Shanghai Natural History Museum invited Xu Zhiwei, associate professor of the School of Geography and Ocean Science, Nanjing University, to give a wonderful lecture on the causes, timing and changes of deserts under the influence of climate change and human activities. More than 6,000 visitors participated in the activities online and offline.

The conditions of drought, high temperature and strong wind make it very difficult for organisms to survive and reproduce in the desert, so the desert ecosystem is very fragile and the land is barren and unsuitable for human survival and development. In addition, dust storms originating in desert areas can spread to wider areas, leading to desertification in some areas and worse impacts. These problems make people think of deserts as the "death of the earth". Xu Zhiwei revealed the unknown side of the desert in his lecture - the desert area also has its unique natural landscape and rich wind and photovoltaic resources. In some areas, people have restored and sustained the desert through innovative ways with positive results achieved. He explained the importance and ecological value of deserts in the earth's climate system with modern geographic analysis techniques and methods from the perspective of the earth system.

After the speech, Mr. Xu also interacted with the audience on issues such as "what color is the desert" and "where does the sand in the desert come from".