Team:Glendale CC AZ/Project/Background/Overview/GrowingDeserts


Growing Desert

Desert regions are currently found scattered around the globe, but, with the advent of global warming, both the boundaries of these regions and the appearance of new areas that could be seen as “desert-like” are increasing at a rapid rate. Rainfall is predicted to decrease by as much as 20% by the end of the century, causing water sources to be depleted and wells to run dry, ultimately resulting in the death of plants and animals. Consequently, humans will migrate to more climatically hospitable locations, which, in short order, has the likelihood of creating the very same problems in these newly habited areas not previously impacted by desertification, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle of depletion, desiccation, and death. Irrigation used for agriculture may, in the long term, lead to soil with salinity levels too high to support plants. Higher temperatures can also produce an increasing number of wildfires, which alter desert landscapes through the elimination of slow-growing trees and shrubs, followed by an influx of highly flammable fuel in the form of fast-growing grasses. In addition, as glaciers, which provide a large portion of the water used for agricultural and domestic purposes in the deserts of the southwestern United States, South America, and Central Asia, continue to melt, the loss of these ancient sources threatens to further limit water availability in these regions. Glaciers keep melting which threatens water availability in some areas.