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Dust Near Lake Chad, Over Nigeria and Chad

13.3N 14.1E

January 31st, 2012 Category: Deserts, Dust Storms, Lakes

Chad - January 4th, 2012

Dust can be observed in the air over Nigeria, southwest of Lake Chad (center). The white smudge to the northeast, in Chad, is a dust storm in the Bodélé Depression, located at the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in north central Africa. The lowest point in Chad, dust storms from the Bodélé Depression are very common, occurring on average about 100 days per year.

Desertification in the region has been increasing, and Lake Chad, once one of the world’s largest water bodies, could disappear in 20 years due to climate change and population pressures, resulting in a humanitarian disaster in central Africa. The lake – surrounded by Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria – has shrunk by 90 per cent, going from 25,000 square kilometers in 1963 to less than 1,500 square kilometers in 2001.

The 30 million people living in the Lake Chad region are being forced into competing over water, and the drying up of the lake could lead to migration and conflicts. Fish production has recorded a 60 per cent decline, while pasturelands have been degraded, resulting in a shortage of animal feed, livestock and biodiversity. A radical change in water management techniques is needed to stem the diminishing flow of water into Lake Chad.

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