Thursday, January 9, 2014

Indescribable… Indestructible! Nothing Can Stop it! Desertification vs. Global Average Temperature Increase

Ivan Cruickshank, Biology Department

Deserts are one of the most barren landscapes on the planet. The searing heat, loose soil, and minimal rainfall make deserts a hostile environment for plant and animal life. Each year every desert expands, further swallowing the surrounding area. The Sahara, for one, is slowly engulfing the fertile sub-Saharan land that the farmers of Africa rely on for agriculture. Using a remote sensing based spatial analysis of the Sahara, the Gobi, the Kalahari, the Australian, and the Chihuahua deserts, this project compares and contrasts how rapidly each desert expands each year. This illustrates how fast each desert is growing and whether smaller or larger deserts expand faster, which helps us to extrapolate future land loss due to desertification. Temperatures of the areas surrounding the deserts are additionally compared with rates of desertification and global average temperature increase to analyze the correlation between higher average temperatures and increased desertification. 

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