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Climate change could bring water into the desert

Research

Computer simulations suggest that global warming could trigger monsoon-like rains over one of the driest regions in Africa. With dramatic consequences.

Commonly, climate change affects evil, it leads to droughts and miseries and makes extreme weather phenomena more frequent.

Only in the African Sahel zone could it all look a bit different, as scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research have found out. There, global warming could lead to more rain.

“For the dry Sahelzone there seems to be the chance that further global warming actually increases the amount of water available to farmers and livestock farmers”, analyzes Jacob Schewe from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (PIK).

Together with colleagues, he has re-evaluated already known computer simulations on the effects of global warming on the Sahel zone.

Monsoon-like rains from a global warming of +2 degrees Celsius

These simulations suggest that precipitation in the region will increase by as much as 300% in unrestricted climate change.

On the one hand, because the rising surface temperature of the ocean causes more water to evaporate, which can return as rain in the country.

On the other hand, the monsoon winds carry the moist air from the Atlantic into the interior of the continent.

This change could help the desert regions of Mali, Nigeria and Chad to form a tropical climate, and it follows a self-reinforcing mechanism.

The effect for this “Sahel monsoon” is likely to occur according to scientists, as the Earth warms by more than 2 degrees Celsius.

Thus, if the objectives of the Paris Climate Change Agreement are not met, as they were taken in December 2015.

One of the world’s largest climate change donors, the United States, has already resigned from the agreement on the will of its president, Donald Trump.

Scientists strike alarm

The scientists are alarmed: “This is one of the few elements in the earth system that we could soon see tilting,” predicts Anders Levermann of the PIK. “If the temperature approaches the threshold, the rainfall can change completely within a few years.”

In the Sahel zone, “the crisis is normal,” the Caritas Association once said about the land line, which is home to 100 million people.

The region is affected by armed conflicts and is repeatedly visited by droughts. Nevertheless, the prospect of monsoon rains is a cause for concern.

In 2007, she was last visited by unusually violent rainfalls. There was a flood disaster, millions of people became homeless.

Levermann warns: “As great as it is hopeful for the Sahel, it is possible that the region is raining more the extent of change.

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