Little is known to what extent conditions within hyper-arid mobile dunes are permissive of microbial activity. To inform this question, we report measurements of temperature and humidity from probes initially sunk below the avalanche face of a mobile barchan dune in the Qatar desert, emerging windward after 15 months of deep burial. The observations reveal how random precipitation produces widely diverse humidity within the dune. They confirm that dunes provide stable temperatures sheltered from hyper-arid environmental conditions at the surface. In this research, we also evaluate the internal stratigraphy of mobile dunes with ground-penetrating microwaves. The presentation will report preliminary measurements conducted in the same Qatar barchan and discuss consequences for water retention after rare precipitation.


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