A major new threat is climate change (Hillel and Rosenzweig 2002). Modeling results suggest that dry areas could become hotter and drier, especially semi-arid Africa and South Asia (Parry 2002). If climate change increases the frequency and/or intensity of droughts, it would aggravate desertification. Given the uncertainty in the models, other outcomes are also possible; recent observations suggest that the Sahel is re-greening (UNEP 2003), although the reasons are not understood and it appears that more factors than just rainfall are involved.
Return to "What Causes Desertification?"
Hillel, D. and Rosenzweig, C. 2002. Desertification in relation to climate variability and change. Advances in Agronomy 77:1-38.
Parry, M. L. 2002. Turning up the heat: how will agriculture weather global climate change? Pp. 117-123 in Sustainable Food Security for All by 2020: Proceedings of an International Conference, Sept. 4-6, 2001, Bonn, Germany. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute.
UNEP 2003. State of the environment. UNEP/GCSS.VIII/2. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme