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Dust Over the Nile Delta, Egypt

30.9N 30.0E

June 1st, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Dust Storms

Egypt – May 30th, 2013

Dust blows across the fertile lands of the Nile Delta (right), in Egypt, and  northwestward over the Mediterranean Sea. While desertification is a concern for large parts of Africa, a different threat may be more pressing in the Nile Delta region: it is among the top three areas on the planet most vulnerable to a rise in sea levels. Even the most optimistic predictions of global temperature increase will still displace millions of Egyptians from one of the most densely populated regions on earth.

The Delta spills out from the northern stretches of the capital into 10,000 square miles of farmland fed by the Nile’s branches. It is home to two-thirds of the country’s rapidly growing population, and responsible for more than 60% of its food supply: Egypt relies unconditionally on it for survival.

But with its 270km of coastline lying at a dangerously low elevation (large parts are between zero and 1m above sea level, with some areas lying below it), any melting of the polar ice caps could see its farmland and cities – including the historical port of Alexandria – transformed into an ocean floor.

A 1m rise in the sea level, which many experts think likely within the next 100 years, will cause 20% of the Delta to go underwater. At the other extreme, the 14m rise that would result from the disappearance of Greenland and western Antarctica would leave the Mediterranean lapping at the northern suburbs of Cairo, with practically all of the Delta underwater.

Already, a series of environmental crises are parking themselves on the banks of the Nile. Some are subtle, like the river’s quiet vanishing act in the Delta’s northern fields; others, like the dramatic collapse of coastal lands into the ocean, are more striking. Major flooding is yet to become a reality but, from industrial pollution to soil salinity, a whole new set of interconnected green concerns is now forcing its way into Egyptian public discourse for the first time (click here for more information).

Dust Across Nile Delta and Cyprus

33.2N 34.1E

May 31st, 2013 Category: Dust Storms

Egypt – May 30th, 2013

Dust from the Sahara Desert blows across the Nile Delta (bottom left) and northeastward over the Mediterranean Sea. A second dust plume can be seen to the east, spreading from north of the Dead Sea to the northwest, across the Mediterranean to the island nation of Cyprus.

Populated Areas Along the Nile Delta, Egypt – May 30th, 2013

30.0N 31.2E

May 30th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Egypt – May 30th, 2013

In Egypt, the 24,900 km2 Nile Delta represents about 60 % of the country’s total arable lands, and it is inhabited by about 30 million people. Water and air pollution continue to be a problem for the river. As development in the spheres of agriculture, industry, and urbanization have progressed among the human population, so too have the side effects associated with these practices increased, namely in the form of various pollutants. These pollutants range from agrochemicals to heavy metals to human waste products. With regards to the latter, many of the impoverished cities along the banks of the Nile cannot afford to build or maintain water treatment facilities, meaning that the water that the people living there use is dumped into the river untreated (click here for more information).

Climate Change and the Nile Basin, Egypt

22.5N 31.7E

April 28th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Rivers

Egypt – April 28th, 2013

The thumbnail image shows Lake Nasser, a reservoir on the Nile River on the border of Sudan (below) and Egypt (above). In the full image, the upper course of the Nile to its delta on the Mediterranean can be observed.

Scientists studying the effects of climate change on the Nile River estimate that the expected change in precipitation over the Blue Nile until 2030 will range from –2.15% to 10.65%, while that over the White Nile basin will range from –0.61% to 8%. Over the whole Nile, the range of temperature changes varies from 0.21 to 0.82 degrees at the highest, while the precipitation changes range from –1.43% to 9.94% at the highest (click here for more information).

Thick Dust Plume West of Nile Delta, Egypt

30.0N 31.2E

April 8th, 2013 Category: Dust Storms, Rivers

Egypt – April 7th, 2013

A thick plume of dust blows across Egypt and over the Mediterranean Sea, passing just west of the fertile Nile River Delta. Dust storms are common in this region, as Egypt lies within a broad band of dust-producing terrain: outside of the Nile River Valley, Egypt’s land surface has very little arable land and is a vast desert plateau rich in Saharan sand.