Thursday, 7 February 2008

African climate change: Blooming Sahara or hunger and war?

Annual precipitation change over Africa
8,500 years ago (mid-Holocene) compared to present
© Climate and Global Dynamics Division

The most known scenarios of Africa’s future in a warmer world include more drought, floods, cyclones, land degradation, epidemics and resource wars.

But not all predictions, models and theories are exclusively negative. The following is not a theory based on climate models, it is a well-documented fact: Until 5,000 years ago, during the so-called Holocene Climate Optimum, world climate was significantly hotter than now - comparable to global warming forecasts - and Africa was living through what scientists call the “African Humid Period”.

During this warm and humid period, what is now the
Sahara Desert was indeed green, covered with grasslands and savannah vegetation. The rock paintings at Tassili - in the middle of the Sahara in south-eastern Algeria - first caused astonishment when found as they depicted savannah animals such as elephants and zebus.

Late, the bones of water-dependent beasts as crocodiles and hippos were found in the Sahara, together with sediments showing that great lakes and rivers existed here until 6,000 years ago.

EIS AFRICA's January newsletter Click here


IPS News 01/02/08 CLIMATE CHANGE: Africa, South Asia Could Face Famines

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