NOAA: Africa to become drier this century

November 30, 2005

A recent U.S. study reportedly predicts global warming will result in Africa's dry regions becoming even drier in the near future.

Computer models of global climate change indicate the Sahel region and southern Africa will become substantially drier this century, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Sahel Africa is the region stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the African "Horn," an area that includes the nations of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia. The southern border of the region is the Sahara Dessert.

Sahel rainfall declined sharply during the late 20th century, with droughts responsible for several million deaths.

"Our model predicts an extremely dry Sahel in the future," said Isaac Held, a senior research scientist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"If we compare it against the drought in the 1970s and '80s, the late 21st century looks even drier -- a 30-percent reduction in rainfall from the average for the last century," he told BBC News.

Sahel rainfall fell dramatically during the second half of the 20th century and; since 1970, about half of the region has been in severe drought.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: New drought atlas maps 2,000 years of climate in Europe

Related Stories

New drought atlas maps 2,000 years of climate in Europe

November 6, 2015

The long history of severe droughts across Europe and the Mediterranean has largely been told through historical documents and ancient journals, each chronicling the impact in a geographically restricted area. Now, for the ...

Seven case studies in carbon and climate

November 13, 2015

Every part of the mosaic of Earth's surface—ocean and land, Arctic and tropics, forest and grassland—absorbs and releases carbon in a different way. Wild-card events such as massive wildfires and drought complicate the ...

Horn of Africa drying ever faster as climate warms

October 9, 2015

The Horn of Africa has become increasingly arid in sync with the global and regional warming of the last century and at a rate unprecedented in the last 2,000 years, according to new research led by a University of Arizona ...

Study sees powerful winds carving away Antarctic snow

October 13, 2015

A new study has found that powerful winds are removing massive amounts of snow from parts of Antarctica, potentially boosting estimates of how much the continent might contribute to sea level. Up to now, scientists had thought ...

Recommended for you

Exploring the physics of a chocolate fountain

November 24, 2015

A mathematics student has worked out the secrets of how chocolate behaves in a chocolate fountain, answering the age-old question of why the falling 'curtain' of chocolate surprisingly pulls inwards rather than going straight ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.