Fri Sep 4th, 2009 at 05:26:42 AM EST
I stumbled on this intriguing article published in the The National Geographic that reports there has been heavier than usual rainfall in parts of Northern Africa, with interesting results:
Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences. (...)
The transition may be occurring because hotter air has more capacity to hold moisture, which in turn creates more rain, said Martin Claussen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, who was not involved in the new study. "The water-holding capacity of the air is the main driving force," Claussen said.
While satellite images can't distinguish temporary plants like grasses that come and go with the rains, ground surveys suggest recent vegetation change is firmly rooted. In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees--such as acacias--are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne's Africa Research Unit in Germany. "Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass," said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades.
In 2008 Kröpelin--not involved in the new satellite research--visited Western Sahara, a disputed territory controlled by Morocco. "The nomads there told me there was never as much rainfall as in the past few years," Kröpelin said. "They have never seen so much grazing land." (...)
"Now you have people grazing their camels in areas which may not have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. You see birds, ostriches, gazelles coming back, even sorts of amphibians coming back," he said. "The trend has continued for more than 20 years. It is indisputable."
That's interesting news! There is actually a return of both plant and animal life! I wonder how this weather and environment change will impact Europe??