Skip to comments.GREENING DESERT
Posted on 09/26/2002 9:49:12 AM PDT by Mike Darancette
>From John-Daly.com, 20 September 2002
According to a new report in New Scientist, the mighty Sahara Desert is receding (also reported by the BBC). This latest example of climate change, cutting a green swathe right across what was previously arid parts of Africa has been going on since the mid 1980s and reverses the desertification trend which was active during the 1960s and 1970s. Yet only a few weeks ago, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the parent body of the IPCC, claimed at the Johannesburg summit that over 45% of Africa was currently in the grip of desertification, with the Sahel worst affected. Now we find that claim was manifestly false, since it is precisely the Sahel region which is benefiting most from the greening.
The Sahara previously expanded south during a cool period globally, and is now retreating again during a warmer period, an object lesson in the perils of cooler climate.
A paper in Nature (Petit et al., v.399, p.429, 3 June 1999) presented Antarctic ice core data covering the last four ice ages, and in each one there was a big increase in dust deposits in the ice during those ice ages, carried there from thousands of miles away. This dust could only be evidence of extreme aridity elsewhere in the world during these cold periods. Once each ice age ended, the dust content fell to extremely low levels, indicating that vegetation was being re-established in previously arid regions. In other words, `warm' equates to greening, `cool' equates to aridity.
This latest evidence of the greening desert is good news for the people of the region who have borne more than their fair share of bad luck when it comes to climate.
Strangely absent from this news is any attribution that the change in Saharan climate might be human-induced a la `global warming' or even CO2 fertilisation. The reason for this is quite simple - all human-induced climate change must be bad by definition. If anything good happens, such as this greening of the desert, then it must be due to some other cause. We don't want to confuse the `policymakers' do we?
So true! Great post, Mike.
Nice article, Mike.
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