Aridification: the desert has gained 100 km in Asia in 40 years!

Rising temperatures. Decreasing rainfall. This is how, under the effect of anthropogenic climate change, the desert climate has progressed by a hundred kilometers towards the north on the side of Central Asia since the 1980s.

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In the central asia, on the side of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, live some 70 million people, the majority of whom live in a semi-arid climate, in which it is hot and there is little rain . Thereby, “a small decrease in the amount of precipitation that falls during the growing season can be catastrophic for local agricultural production and population”explains Qi Hu, professor at the University of Nebraska (United States), in a communicated.

It is this vulnerability displayed at climate change anthropogenic that prompted him to examine how temperatures, precipitation, vegetation and ecology have evolved in the region since the middle of the 20the century. The researchers found that while the arid areas tended to move northward, the wetter, colder regions in the north tended to nibble on the south. Literally squeezing the hitherto semi-arid region.

Coming tensions on the water

As a result, a new atmospheric circulation has set up. A circulation that acts as “a killer of clouds». With the key for the future, probably, a climate that becomes quite markedly desert.

Another finding of the researchers, while over the period between 1960 and 1980 and that between 1990 and 2020, the temperatures of certain regions of Central Asia rose by around 5 ° C, precipitation increased this time at high altitudes. . It now rains up to 20 centimeters more per year than before. Enough to melt the glaciers . With immediate benefit in matterwater for local people. But a benefit that could hide a longer-term difficulty. “In 20 or 30 years, the glaciers will have disappeared. Only the summer rainfall will remain to meet the needs of the populations. It won’t be enough to support the agricultural production»explains Qi Hu.

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