Climate change, drought and desertification

Année de publication



Journal of Arid Environments 1996 34 133 185 2


Abstract: The definition of desertification accepted in the ad hoc conference held by UNEP in Nairobi in 1977 and confirmed at the Earth Summit on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 is: ‘arid, semi-arid and dry-subhumid land degradation’. There is no global long-term trend in any rainfall change over the period of instrumental record (c. 150 years), but there has been an increase of 0·5°C in global temperature over the past 100 years. This increase seems partly due to urbanization, as there is no evidence of it resulting from atmospheric pollution by CO2and other warming gases (SO2, NO2, CH4, CFH etc.). On the other hand, the thermal increase is uneven, increasing with latitudes above 40° N and S. The increase is only slight or non-existent in subtropical and inter-tropical latitudes where most arid and semi-arid lands lie. This, incidently, is consistent with Global Circulation Models (GCM) — derived scenarios. The study of tree-rings, lake level fluctuations and pollen analysis confirm the existence of climatic fluctuations, but with no long-term trends over the past 2000 years. A possible increase of 1–3°C in arid lands over the next 50 years due to a doubling of the CO2content of the lower atmosphere to 700 p.p.m., as assumed by most scenarios stemming from GCM, would increase global potential evapo-transpiration (PET) by some 75–225 mm year−1. The ratio of mean annual precipitation to PET would then decrease by about 4–5%, assuming that no substantial changes in rainfall took place in arid and semi-arid lands. However, the impact of CO2on plants would boost photosynthesis and, therefore, primary productivity; it would also increase water-use efficiency via the reduction of stomatal conductance. It is therefore at present difficult to predict the net balance of these two opposite consequences or to prophesy which phenomenon would prevail: increased aridity or higher productivity and more efficient water use. At all events, the possible effect of a climatic fluctuation (or change) of the magnitude envisaged would have a trivial consequence on arid environments, as compared with the past and present impact of humans and their livestock. Drought has always been a normal recurrent event in arid and semi-arid lands. Strategies and tactics to mitigate its consequences via improved land-use and management practices are analysed.

Type de publication
  • journal
Type de document
  • review-article
Classification - Inist-CNRS
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
Classification - Scopus
  • 1 - Physical Sciences
  • 2 - Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • 3 - Earth-Surface Processes
  • 2 - Environmental Science
  • 3 - Ecology
  • 1 - Life Sciences
  • 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Classification - Science Metrix
  • 1 - natural sciences
  • 2 - biology
  • 3 - ecology
Classification - Clarivate Analytics (Subject Category)
  • 1 - science
  • 2 - environmental sciences
  • 2 - ecology
Termes extraits

climatic; sahel; unep; climate change; wasal; ecosystem; desertification; houerou; uctuations; arid; floret; southern africa; precipitation; idso; glantz; land degradation; meteorology; hyperarid; mimeo; rangeland; patagonia; climatology; pontanier; arid lands; nairobi; enso; tunisie; etude; kenya; subtropical; albedo; drought; argentina; krenz; orstom; bioclimatic; atmospheric research; katz; kharin; intertropical; societal impacts; ipcc; guiot; yoshino; climatic change; unesco; national center; worldwide climate anomalies; arid zones; rainfall; oechel; mainguet; ogallo; mediterranean basin; arid environments; degradation; anomaly; temperature rise; australasia; annual rainfall; nicholls; montpellier; sustainable; schneider; aridity; nacional; nino; wang; climatic aridity; burgos; folland; salinization; natural ecosystems; drylands; zhenda; arid zone; programme; ecology; oldeman; climatiques; kovda; arides; academia; worldwide; dendrochronological studies; total land surface; east africa; soil surface; nicholson; tyson; kimball; royal meteorology society; human activities; cambridge university press; temperature increase; climatic variations; other hand; floret pontanier; industrial countries; carbon dioxide; annual temperature; quarterly journal; schneider rosenberg; annual precipitation; central asia; academia sinica; academic press; water logging; vegetation; scenario; shrub; republica argentina; water harvesting; meteorological society; africa journal; soil degradation; native vegetation; runoff farming; desert research; wang lixian; tree rings; international conference; various degrees; changements climatiques; management practices; climate variations; plant productivity; plant growth; water stress; ipcc assessment; edward arnold; variability; fodder; zone; sahara; global; sahel drought; intertropical lowlands; southern europe; john wiley sons; degree light; game ranching; water availability; water erosion; livestock populations; intertropical highlands; wind erosion; westview press; edaphic aridity; water intake; enso events; raindrop splash; sustainable development; perennial plant; indirect causes; cape town; vegetation change; humid climates; zhao songqiao; major weather stations; northern patagonia; climatic variation; demographic growth; primary production; international panel; monthly weather review; subtropical regions; rainfall change; lake level; bioclimatic zone surface area eremitic hyperarid; hyperarid zone; buenos aires; martinus nijhoff; israel exploration journal; other words; natural hazards; land surface; many scientists; range management; stomatal conductance; pollen analysis; national parks; dioxide; latitude; centre; temperate; runoff; irrigation; niger; greenhouse; evaporation; climate; chemical deterioration; yatagai yasunari; global assessment; global increase; positive correlation; houerou climate change; niger river; desert research institute; subhumid zones; junk publisher; southern tunisia; temperature anomalies; northern kenya; earth summit; bioclimatic aridity zoning; primary productivity; eastern africa; climatic factors; land surface albedo; intergovernmental panel; biogeophysical feedback theory; drought prediction; wang mearns; baja california; africa algeria egypt libya morocco tunisia; goudie middleton; seed bank; water shortage; crop failure; northern mexico; creosote bushes; nominal abrasion rate; mainguet canon; water conservation techniques; total protection; production systems; global radiation; differential impact; rainfall variability; rainfall patterns; large extent; other parameters; intertropical zone; thermal increase; poleward slide; vegetation belts; mckenney rosenberg; standard error; great basin; middle asia; andean puna; central chile; stock species; technical note; commercial hunting; juniperus phoenicea; southwestern europe; higher productivity; moderate increase; pinus nigra; co2enriched atmosphere; winter crops; better management; carbon fertilization; cure ackocks; other causes; kimball idso; african sahel; zinderen bakker; nicholson entekhabi; higher temperature; long periods; natural vegetation; degraded ecosystems; rangeland degradation; rain variability ratio; rangelands prvr; upper limit; worse case scenario; irreversible situations; agroforestry techniques; tropical africa; fodder shrubs; latin america; many countries; drainage water; high yields; prosopis cineraria; lake level surveys; sustainable agriculture; instrumental records; instrumental record; jury levey; deep gratitude; human mismanagement; land abuse; nations conference; high rainfall; jury pathack; meteorological record; northern america; southern america; quaternary research; depierre gillet; world atlas; direct causes; possible increase; present century; carbon dioxide enrichment; greenhouse crops; boca raton; global circulation models; drought mitigation; academia nacional; topographic depressions; permanent vegetation; organic matter; soil structure; lower permeability; final report; annual basis; font tullot; onate rubalcaba; surface albedo; same proportions; puigdefabregas aguilera; southern france; consistent trends; time scale; land management; various types; main weather stations; climate variability; supplementary report; climatic changes; america region; records show; tropical regions; climatic anomalies; enso event; natural disaster; climate anomalies; last century; wiley sons; zone research institute; addis ababa; international livestock centre; potential evaporation; fuel collection; carbon cycle; rainfall changes; international journal; global change; ecological society; international symposium; direct effects; rainfall trends; arid land irrigation; pergamon press; absolute terms; indian council; gions arides; global temperature; zones arides; water research commission; total africa asia australasia europe; collection etudes; dernier mill; african rainfall; southern oscillation; royal society; atmospheric circulation; wood collection; hoffman; oscillation; mediterranean; erosion

Entité nommée
Entité nommée - Emplacement géographique
  • Libya
  • Montpellier
  • Colombia
  • Bolivia
  • Alice Springs
  • Peru
  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Cape Verde
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • Mozambique
  • Brazil
  • Mendoza
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Niamey
  • Canada
  • Morocco
  • Kenya
  • Argentina
  • Turkmenistan
  • American
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Ouagadougou
  • Algeria
  • India
  • Djibouti
  • Tunisia
  • Paraguay
  • China
  • Europe
  • Japan
  • America
  • South Africa
  • Senegal
  • Indonesia
  • Toulouse
  • Mongolia
  • Sudan
  • York
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Russia
  • Guinea
  • Spain
  • Botswana
  • Nairobi
  • Netherlands
  • Buenos Aires
Entité nommée - Organisme
  • Mexico and Monte
  • United Nations Sahel-Sudan Of
  • Australia, Southern Africa
  • Mexico CONICET
  • Culture Organization, Paris UNSO
  • NW China, North Africa
  • France INCD
  • Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sudan
  • NW China, Tibet, Patagonia, the Andean Puna
  • France CONACYT
  • Gross National Product
  • South Africa, and Southern Europe
  • Institute of Ecology, Jalapa, Mexico, the University of Cape Town and associates
  • Australia World
  • United Nations Environment Programme
  • Niger Albedo
  • NE Brazil and Baja California
  • NW China and Mongolia
  • Desert Institute of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, the Desert Research Institute of the Academia Sinica
  • Egypt, Yemen, Iran
  • Zn, Co
  • China, the CEFE/CNRS
  • NW China, Tibet, Patagonia
  • France CENPAT
  • Mexico, the United States and Canada
  • Tunisia, Libya
  • A CO
  • Industrial Organization, Australia
  • World Meteorological Organization
  • South Africa, North Africa, the Near East, Southern Europe, Australia
  • Southern Africa Angola Botswana Mozambique South Africa
  • East Africa Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania
  • West Africa Burkina Faso Chad Mali Mauritania Niger Nigeria Senegal Sudan Sahara
  • Niger Inland Delta
  • Middle East Afghanistan India Iran Pakistan
  • Yemen, Jordan, North Africa and Spain
  • Kenya and Ethiopia
  • South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe
  • American SW
  • Southern Africa South Africa Botswana Namibia
  • Australia, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania
  • China, Iran
  • Australia Regions and countries
  • Mexico, Tunisia and Turkey
  • Israel on Juniperus
  • Sahel Burkina Faso Cape Verde Chad Mali Mauritania Niger Senegal Sudan
  • North Africa Algeria Egypt Libya Morocco Tunisia
  • Spain, Greece, Italy
  • Laboratory of Climatology, University of Arizona, Tempe, AZ
  • Tunisia and North Africa
  • Agriculture Organization of the United Nations GCM
  • Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, West Pakistan
  • Northern Kenya, CONICET/IADIZA of Mendoza, Argentina, CONICET/CENPAT of Puerto-Madryn
  • Iraq Israel Jordan Kuwait Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia Syria Turkey UAE Yemen CLIMATE CHANGE, DROUGHT AND DESERTIFICATION
  • Argentina CILSS
  • International Soil Reference and Information Center
  • Madagascar Cape Verde North and South America
  • East Africa Ethiopia Kenya Somalia Tanzania Total Weighted
  • Argentina CSIRO
  • Senegal, Mali, Niger, Chad
  • Portugal, Espino
  • China and Mongolia and NE
  • Niger River Inland Delta, the Gezira of Nile
  • Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda
Entité nommée - Personne
R. Pontanier; Sung Chiao; R.P. Nelson; El Alamein; Morocco; E. Le Floc; J. Guiot; E. Wickens; M.T. Hoffman; J.C. Guevara; D.L. Philipps; M. Baumer; W.F.G. Cardy; L. Emberger; J.C. Labraga; M. Yoshino; F. Stanbanez; Basin; M.C. Rostagno; J. Maley; M. Petit; V. Neronov; M.J. De Araujo-Lima; N. Nicholls; John L. Cloudsley-Thompson; A.L. De Jussieu; R.Br; B. Thebaud; B.A. Callander; M.R. Muturi; S. Bie; Africa; C. Montana; M. Fournier; N.J. Rosenberg; M. Muller; G.E. Wickens; J. Otterman; M. Friedel; J. Puigdefabregas; C. Skarpe; N.G. Kharin; S. Milton; H. Kadomura; Comprehensive; L.R. Oldeman; L. Tessier; P.W. Roux; A.Chev; A.R. Palmer; U.N. Conference; Asia Australasia; A. Brazel; L.N. Harsh; T. Mendizabal; U.N. Deserti; O.F. Canziani
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