Friday, March 03, 2006

Global Warming and Global Drought.

Today in the Washington Post:

The Antarctic ice sheet is losing as much as 36 cubic miles of ice a year in a trend that scientists link to global warming, according to a new paper that provides the first evidence that the sheet's total mass is shrinking significantly.
The new findings, which are being published today in the journal Science, suggest that global sea level could rise substantially over the next several centuries.
(also in the NYTimes)There is also a huge problem in Africa which is not much talked about:
At the same time, Africa's rivers face dramatic disruption that will leave a quarter of the continent severely short of water by the end of the century, a separate study has found. Both studies were published in the journal Science on Thursday. The findings suggest that a century of steady increases in global temperatures has altered the seasonal balance of the world's water cycle. (Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)

And the phenomenon is undeniably global : there is a drought threatening much of western and southern Europe this summer. Amazingly, this is ALREADY creating problems not only in parts of France (see here too) and in Spain but also in the UK (here) and this is still winter :
Concern is growing for flora and fauna in some parts of the UK because rainfall levels are well below the average for winter months.
[.../...]
River flows are also worryingly low. Many are running at half the level normally expected at this time of year. About 3.4 million residents in Kent and Sussex are already subject to restrictions on their water use, with 2.7 million of them banned from using hosepipes. (BBC)

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