[permaculture] Air pollution to blame for drought, says Australian researcher

PacificEdge pacedge at magna.com.au
Sun Aug 18 21:46:48 EDT 2002

Tiny atmospheric particles originating in the Northern Hemisphere may be 
responsible for a catastrophic drought in the Sahel region of Africa, 
according to Australian researcher Leon Rotstayn.

Sulfate aerosol particles make cloud droplets smaller and clouds 
brighter and longer lasting; the clouds reflect more sunlight into 
space, cooling the earth's surface below, which causes the tropical rain 
belt to weaken, Rotstayn explains. The main impact has been in the Sahel 
in northern Africa, which experienced a 49% drop in rainfall in the 
second half of the twentieth century versus the first half.

"The Sahelian drought may be due to a combination of natural variability 
and atmospheric aerosol," says Rotstayn. "Cleaner air in the future will 
mean greater rainfall in this region."

Rotstayn is a member of the Model Development and Analysis team of the 
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
SOURCE: http://www.dar.csiro.au/profile/rotstayn.html

Russ Grayson
Pacific Edge Media; TerraCircle regional development team
Sydney, Australia.
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