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Sahelian Drought Investigation

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Sahelian Drought Investigation The word Sahel is Arabic for edge or shore of the desert, and it refers to a strip of arid land which runs across Africa, from the 'Horn of Africa' in the East to Mauritania in the West. . Water is precious because rainfall is both infrequent and sparse. The latitude of the region is about 10-150 North and is 3.800 km East to West and 700 km North to South. The countries within the Sahel are Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. The normal climate in summer in the Sahel region has the sun and ITCZ overhead so therefore onshore tropical maritime winds occur & there many areas of low pressure are produced. ...read more.


The region is faced with severe land degradation, caused by increasing desertification and soil erosion - the direct result of deforestation in recent decades. The reasons for these worsening conditions are not clear. Some scientists believe that the world's climate has been changing, leading to an expansion of the Sahara desert and the Sahel. But it also seems certain that deforestation has played an important part, as farmers have cleared land for their crops and removed trees for fuel wood. Without trees and plants to protect it, the soil is carried away in the dry season by hot easterly winds, and washed into the rivers during the rains by surface run-off. ...read more.


As the Sahel is a fragile environment where rainfall is sparse and unreliable, millet and sorghum crops can also grow well in the dry conditions, succeeding in a good year but failing when the rains are poor. Nomadic herders make good use of these difficult conditions, moving their sheep, goats, cows and camels to areas which have received the most rain. However the conditions are getting so harsh that even the animals that once could withstand these harsh conditions are dieing. There are also many physical impacts from the droughts in the Sahel region. Water tables drop, vegetation dies and rivers dry up. This therefore has a knock on affect causing problems for the people living in the region. 1 Tim Cobley ...read more.

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