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Lecture 16

Earth Science - Lecture 16 Notes.docx

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Earth Sciences
Sergei Basik

October 11, 2013 SEVERE WEATHER: DROUGHTS AND DESERTIFICATION Hazards Related to Weather and Climate  Many hazards are related to weather: o Floods o Hurricanes and nor’easters o Thunderstorms and tornadoes o Droughts o Heat waves o Snow and ice  Natural events such as volcanoes can trigger changes in weather patterns that can be hazardous Droughts  Prolonged dry climatic event that dramatically lowers available water below that normally used  Not abrupt or dramatic, proceeds slowly  Definition varies depending on effect on people  Drop in usable water available in reservoirs, in groundwater storage or in stream flow  Timing of precipitation can matter o Winter snowpack tends to melts slowly and seep into ground o Summer rains tend to run off  Can get droughts in Canada (ex. Alberta, Arctic)  Prolonged drought can lead to: o Migration o Social and political upheaval o War  Crops weakened by drought are vulnerable to insect attack  Drought was widespread across US in 2007 (correlated with warm phase of AMO)  Ex. California, Australia (not deserts but hot so can get droughts)  Can get this natural event in different areas of planet  Hard to solve problem because money cannot stop a drought Dust Storms  Reduction in soil moisture allows dust to be carried in air  Winds carrying dust can become dust storms  Carry pollutants, dust, sand in plumes around world  Causes contamination problems  Severe drought and disastrous farming practices in US plains states turned i
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