Scientists have come to the conclusion that the Southern Hemisphere of our planet is slowly drying up. This process takes place faster than in the North.
This is reported by Science Alert with reference to a study published in the scientific journal Science.
An international group of scientists traced the gradual drying process of the Southern Hemisphere from 2001 to 2020.
According to their assumptions, the reason for this trend is the El Niño phenomenon – a sharp increase in water temperature in the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean. It happens every few years.
Scientists analyzed satellite data and measurements of rivers and streams. Thanks to this, they calculated the winters in the availability of water.
Water availability is the difference between the amount of water entering the landscape in the form of rain and its release into the atmosphere through evaporation.
Although the Southern Hemisphere occupies only a quarter of the planet’s landmass (excluding Antarctica), it has a greater influence on global water availability than the Northern Hemisphere.
The study found that water availability has declined significantly in South America, much of Africa, and central and northwestern Australia.
Water availability in the Northern Hemisphere is more or less balanced. In particular, this is related to human influence – irrigation, construction of dams, etc.
However, changes in the Southern Hemisphere affect the Northern Hemisphere as well. It is in South America that the Amazon rainforest is located, which is a key climate regulator and a globally important habitat for species.
Desiccation of tropical forests can lead to reduced vegetation and increased fire risk. This would potentially cause the release of billions of tonnes of carbon.
In addition, the load on the food system will increase, because South America is an exporter of soybeans, sugar, meat, coffee and fruit to the world market.
Drought in northern Australia can change the structure of vegetation and lead to a significant increase in temperature. In particular, by 2100 it may exceed 35°C for most of the year.
A gradual drying process is also taking place in south-west and south-east Australia. This can cause changes in the environment, forest fires, depletion of rivers and have a detrimental effect on human health.
It will be recalled that earlier scientists reported that global warming has accelerated, and humanity is in the early stages of an emergency climate situation.
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