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Parched parts of Earth expanding

By 2100, drylands will cover more than half of Earth's land surface, new climate projections show

2:23pm, October 27, 2015
arid drylands

DRYING OUT  Arid drylands like this one are expected to cover more than half of Earth's land surface by the end of the century.

Arid, hardscrabble landscapes could cover more than half of Earth’s land surface by 2100, a new study finds.

The expansion of drylands — fragile regions where vegetation is sparse and soil is fairly infertile — will predominantly occur in developing countries, according to new climate change simulations published October 26 in Nature Climate Change. That’s also where the greatest population growth is expected. More humans will mean a greater need for food and farming, which could further degrade and expand dryland environments, say Jianping Huang of Lanzhou University in China and colleagues.

Currently, drylands make up about 40 percent of Earth’s land surface.




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