Earth Snapshot RSS Feed Twitter
 
 
 
 

Posts tagged Desertification

Desertification and Vanishing Lake Chad

12.8N 14.0E

June 19th, 2013 Category: Climate Change MODISTerra

Chad – June 19th, 2013

As you approach the Lake Chad basin the air is dusty, the wind is fierce and unrelenting, the plants are wilting and the earth is turning into sand dunes. The sparse vegetation is occasionally broken by withered trees and shrubs. The lives of herders, fisherfolk and farmers are teetering on the edge as the lake dries up before their eyes.

Vegetation and water, the traditional staples of livelihood for the Lake Chad community dwellers, are vanishing. Vultures feast on dead cows as drought and desertification take their toll. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called the situation an “ecological catastrophe,” predicting that the lake could disappear this century.

The Lake Chad basin is one of the most important agricultural heritage sites in the world, providing a lifeline to nearly 30 million people in four countries — Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Lake Chad is located in the far west of Chad and the northeast of Nigeria. Parts of the lake also extend to Niger and Cameroon. It is fed mainly by the Chari River through the Lagone tributary, which used to provide 90 per cent of its water. It was once Africa’s largest water reservoir in the Sahel region, covering an area of about 26,000 square kilometres; however, by 2001 the lake covered less than one-fifth of that area (click here for more information).

Desertification, Water Loss and Temperature Changes in the Aral Sea – June 9th, 2013

45.2N 59.8E

June 9th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Lakes MODISAqua

Aral Sea – June 9th, 2013

The primary effect of the Aral Sea desiccation has been the significant loss of water in the sea. The water level has dropped approximately 23 meters since the onset of its primary sources of water being diverted. Although the water level has fluctuated up to a few meters in the past due to natural variability in the water flow from the rivers, by 1970, the water loss exceeded the limit of natural water level variation that has occurred in the past.

The desiccation of the Aral Sea has been accompanied by the change in the Sea Surface Temperature. We see that the summer SSTs have been increasing, while winter SSTs have been decreasing. This is expected because as the sea loses volume, its heat capacity is reduced, therefore it can warm up and cool off faster than before. The day to night variations in SSTs, which are responsible for the sea breezes, have also increased.

In a sense, Aral sea has started to exhibit a monsoon climate, which is characterized by seasonal climate change due to warming and cooling of the sea. The desiccation period was also characterized by less ice covering of the sea. This can be explained by the fact that increased salt concentration lowers the freezing point of water; therefore the temperature would now need to be lower for the water to turn into ice (click here for more information).

Dust and Desertification in Iraq

33.9N 43.2E

May 19th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Dust Storms, Rivers

Iraq – May 19th, 2013

Some dust blows over the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley in Iraq. Iraq suffers from desertification and soil salination due in large part to thousands of years of agricultural activity. Water and plant life are sparse. Saddam Hussein’s government water-control projects drained the inhabited marsh areas east of An Nasiriyah by drying up or diverting streams and rivers.

The marshlands were a fine and extensive natural wetlands ecosystem which developed over thousands of years in the Tigris–Euphrates basin and once covered 15–20,000 square kilometers. Between 84% and 90% of the marshes have been destroyed since the 1970s. In 1994, 60 percent of the wetlands were destroyed by Hussein’s regime – drained to permit military access and greater political control of the native Marsh Arabs.

The drying of the marshes led to the disappearance of the salt-tolerant vegetation; the plankton rich waters that fertilized surrounding soils; 52 native fish species; the wild boar, red fox, buffalo and water birds of the marsh habitat.

Desertification’s Effects on Lake Chad

12.8N 14.0E

April 29th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Dust Storms

Chad – April 29th, 2013

Some dust can be seen over the northern lobe of Lake Chad and blowing about the arid terrain north of the lake. Lake Chad is an example of desertification, the process by which land turns desert-like. During the 1960s, Lake Chad was 38,000 square kilometres of sparkling blue-green water that nourished humans, animals and plant life in the four countries it straddles: Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.

However, Lake Chad is now a speck of what it was five decades ago, measuring just 1,300 square kilometres. The Sahara desert is the culprit. It is stealthily moving southward, expanding at the rate of about 48 square kilometres every year, according to some reports. Desertification is a growing problem in Africa and other parts of the world, and will cause more conflict and food insecurity as climate change spurs it on.

Thin Veil of Dust Over Aral Sea

46.7N 61.6E

April 5th, 2013 Category: Dust Storms, Lakes

Aral Sea – April 3rd, 2013

A thin veil of dust can be seen blowing across the Aral Sea Basin. The dust is easiest to spot over the bright turquoise waters of the southwestern basin. Dust storms are becoming more frequent in this area due to desertification and the shrinking of the sea due to riverwater diversion.

About Us

Earth Observation

Organisations

Archive

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Categories


Bulletin Board


Featured Posts

Information

45


Take Action

Widgets