What effects is climate change having on soil in Africa?



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    The main effect of climate change on the soils of Africa is considered to be soil degradation through increased intensity and variability of weather patterns.  An increase in rainfall can contribute to leaching of nutrients, topsoil runoff, and/or increased decomposition of organic matter.  In either case the soil is less useful for agricultural production.  An increase in variability of weather patterns poses a problem as drought periods increase in length and intensity, leading to an increase in both the aridity of the soil and, potentially, the salinity of the soil as well.  The increase in aridity also has the potential to increase the frequency and intensity of dust storms in the Sahara.

    The continent has a variety of sub-regions, each of which will face different challenges resulting from climate change. A more in-depth analysis of each region is being conducted by the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA) in conjunction with the World Bank Institute, and its results can be accessed through the link below.

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