Desert Engulfing Nouakchott in Mauritania

The long term result of extreme drought is desert. When arid land, once productive for grazing or agriculture, becomes desert, rural people move on. They might go to the city, as some have to Nouakchott, Capital of Mauritania and one of the larger cities at the edge of the Sahara (pictured in satellite image) . Climate-driven dislocations stem from, and symbolize, risks of a more rapidly changing climate. All that is left to discuss is the role of humans in driving that change. Whether accomplished locally, by logging, overgrazing or excessive groundwater withdrawals, globally by C02 emissions, or universally by solar cycles, or all of the above, we'll set that debate aside for the experts.The point of presenting an image of a city being engulfed in sand is to symbolize that what has happened in Darfur and what appears to be happening in Beijing China is commonplace. A new United Nations report reminds us that :- "Desertification — land degradation in arid and semi-arid areas — is a pressing global environmental challenge, currently affecting an estimated 100-200 million people. One-third of all people on Earth — about 2 billion in number — are potential victims. Desertification could bring about mass migration as people are forced to leave lands that can no longer support them, posing an "imminent threat to international stability", according to the report's authors." Via:: SCiDevNet Image credit: Earth Observatory, NASA

Tags: Africa | Desertification | United Nations