Drought is one of the “most destructive” natural disasters in terms of loss of life, resulting from impacts such as large-scale crop failures, forest fires and water stress.
In other words, droughts are one of the “world’s most feared natural phenomena”; they devastate farmland, destroy livelihoods and cause untold suffering, as reported by the world’s leading expert bodies: the
They occur when an area experiences a shortage of water supply due to a lack of rainfall or lack of surface or ground water. And they can last for weeks, months or years.
Exacerbated by land degradation and climate change, droughts are increasing in frequency and severity, up 29% since 2000, with 55 million people affected each year.
The impacts of climate change are often felt through water – more intense and frequent droughts, more extreme floods, more erratic seasonal rainfall and accelerated melting of glaciers – with cascading effects on economies, ecosystems and all aspects of our daily lives – Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary General
By 2050, droughts could affect around three-quarters of the world’s population. This means that agricultural production will need to increase by 60% to meet global food demand in 2050.
This means that about 71% of the world’s irrigated area and 47% of major cities will experience at least periodic water shortages. If this trend continues, water scarcity and associated water quality issues will lead to competition and conflict among water users, the Convention adds.
Most of the world already affected
The alert is loud and clear and it comes from a number of the most knowledgeable organizations in the world.
To begin with, the
Between 2001 and 2018,
Currently, more than 3.6 billion people have insufficient access to water at least one month a year and this figure is expected to rise to more than five billion by 2050.
Additionally, areas that were exceptionally dry included
Drying up of rivers, lakes
The same trend has been observed in rivers in some parts of the
On the other hand, higher than normal river flows were observed in some North American basins, the northern Amazon and
The impacts of climate change are often felt through water – more intense and frequent droughts, more extreme floods, more erratic seasonal rainfall and accelerated melting of glaciers – with cascading effects on economies, ecosystems and all aspects of our daily lives,” said WMO Secretary-General
“Changes to water resources in the cryosphere affect food security, human health, ecosystem integrity and maintenance, and result in significant impacts on economic and social development,” the WMO said, provoking sometimes river floods and flash floods due to overflows from glacial lakes.
The cryosphere – that is, glaciers, snow cover, ice caps and, where present, permafrost – is the largest natural reservoir of fresh water in the world.
Given that water – or rather its lack – is a major cause and effect of the rapid deterioration of natural resources and the resulting damage to global food production, the theme of World Soil Day 2022, celebrated on the 5 December, is “Soils: Where the Food Begins.”
- 95% of our food comes from the soil.
- 18 natural chemical elements are essential for plants. Soil supply 15.
- Agricultural production will need to increase by 60% to meet global food demand in 2050.
- 33% of soils are degraded.
Besides the life of humans, animals and plants, one of the sectors that depends most on aquatic cultures is today very threatened.
Indeed, since the 1950s, recalls the
“But these inventions would be meaningless without agriculture’s most precious commodity: fresh water. And it, the researchers say, is now under threat.”
In addition, pollution, climate change and overexploitation are beginning to compromise the lakes, rivers and aquifers that support agriculture globally, reports the
Salinized and plasticized
This is the case, among many others, of the increasing salinization and “plasticization” of the planet’s soils.
In fact, currently, it is estimated that there are more than 833 million hectares of soil affected by salt in the world (8.7% of the planet). This involves the loss of the soil’s ability to produce food and also increases the impacts on water and the ability to filter pollution.
Soil salinization and sodification are major land degradation processes threatening ecosystems and are recognized as among the most important global issues for agricultural production, food security and sustainability in arid and semi-arid regions. arid, said the
Among the main causes that this international organization highlights is the increase in the amount of wastewater used to grow crops in some arid areas.
“The problem can be exacerbated by floods, which can inundate sewage systems or fertilizer reserves, polluting both surface water and groundwater.” Fertilizer runoff can cause algae blooms in lakes.
Meanwhile, the amount of freshwater per capita has dropped by 20% over the past two decades and nearly 60% of irrigated cropland is under water stress.
The implications of these shortages are significant: irrigated agriculture contributes 40% of total food production worldwide.
Soils are highly living organisms
“Did you know that there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than humans on Earth?”
Soil is a world made up of organisms, minerals and organic compounds that provide food for humans and animals through plant growth, explains this year’s World Soil Day.
Agricultural systems lose nutrients with each harvest, and if soils are not managed sustainably, fertility is gradually lost and soils will produce nutrient-poor plants.
Loss of soil nutrients is a major soil degradation process that threatens nutrition. It is recognized as one of the most globally critical issues for food security and sustainability worldwide.
Over the past 70 years, the level of vitamins and nutrients in food has declined dramatically, and it is estimated that 2 billion people worldwide suffer from a lack of micronutrients, known as hidden hunger because it is difficult to detect.
“Soil degradation causes some soils to be nutrient depleted, losing their ability to support crops, while others have such a high nutrient concentration that represents a toxic environment for plants and animals, pollutes the environment and causes climate change.”
Copyright Inter Press Service. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com)., source
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