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Drought in West Africa

West Africa is already living on the edge, and new research indicates that even worse droughts are possible than the one that devastated the region in the late 20th century.

The scientists warned that more such mega-droughts are inevitable, although there is no way to predict when the next one could unfold.

As many as 100,000 people died in the multi-decade Sahel drought that began in the 1960s, and a detailed look at lake sediments in Ghana indicates that such dry periods have occurred periodically, punctuated by occasional century-long droughts.

The researchers of University of Arizona and Texas looked at sediments from Lake Bosumtwi spanning about the last 3,000 years.

As global warming progresses, the increases in temperature may make the normal climate pattern more extreme, producing even more severe and prolonged droughts than those of the past.

Origin: National Science Foundation

by S. C.
19 april 2009, World News > Africa