Impact of the Global Climate Change on Land Degradation in Egypt
Keywords:Climate change, land degradation, Desertification
Indications of serious changes in the world's climate have been evident over the past few decades. Recently, studies have shown how grave the problem is, as well as the magnitude of its negative impacts on all sectors of development. According to these studies, human activity has led to a rise in the earth's average temperature at a rate of 0.3 to 0.4 degrees every 10 years, which is unprecedented in recorded history. This rapid and continuous rise in temperature has been traced to the increase in greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere. Projections made by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate an expected rise in average temperatures of between 2.0 to 4.5 0C by the end of the present century. A rise in sea levels of between 9 to 59cm is also projected, which would lead to unprecedented changes in an environment that has remained stable over many eras. The high increase in the population growth rate and rapid spread of urbanization in Egypt are the cause for concern due to the resultant increase in air and water pollution. Population growth has obviously intensified demand for resources, including water, energy, and waste disposal and sewage services. The rise in temperature is expected to further exacerbate the dearth in drinking water, increase pressure on land resources, and lead to a rise in the incidence of sand and dust storms. Furthermore, the global rise in sea levels added to expected local land subsidence (a result of tectonic movements and continued pumping of petroleum and ground water, estimated at another 30cm within the next 100 years), will lead to a loss of many low-lying coastal areas and to salt water intrusion into a number of coastal wells. The combined effect will also lead to a rise in the water table in coastal regions that would ruin the agricultural productivity of low- lying areas. The adverse effects of climate change also include an increase in the frequency and severity of sandstorms, and longer periods of drought followed by more intense flooding. This is expected to lead to public health problems, including the spread of epidemics, especially in poorer regions.
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