The solar energy of sunshine heats the desert floor. Heat rises thence as plumes of hot air (this is what makes the desert scene wavy) that heat the bottom few meters of the atmosphere. That layer of heated air is gravitationally unstable. On occasion it rises as a high-power vortex called a dust devil.

If we can put men on the moon, we should be able to make stationary dust devils and get wind power out of them.

Volney Wallace