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Shock, Horror: Climate Change Will Bring Deserts Back To Life, Say Scientists

Bernard Lagan, The Times

Desert travellers will one day have to pack umbrellas and wellies along with their sun hats, according to a long-range weather forecast by climate change scientists in Australia.

Their research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, challenges the assumption that higher temperatures will make dry areas even drier, and wetter regions even wetter.

The scientists believe that arid parts of California, central Asia, the Sinai, southern Africa and central Australia will be hit by more frequent downpours.

“The most significant finding was that the extremes are increasing in both dry and wet regions, and precipitation totals are also increasing in the dry regions,” said Markus Donat, from the climate change research centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. “This would then suggest that desert-like areas of the world on average are expected to get more rain.”

More rain raises the prospect that deserts could bloom with flowers more frequently — an uncommon spectacle but one that can be influenced by several factors, including ground temperature. Death Valley in California is now in bloom with spring flowers.

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see also Philipp Mueller: The Sahel Is Greening