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Camel in Tuscany * Southern Europe will turn from forest to desert

Deserts in France? Sandstorms in Rome? * Experts warn
Already in the next 15 years we will see how Europe becomes
to more and more desert


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Imagine for a moment wilderness, shifting sands, yellow dunes, dust and terrible heat. Now associate this image with tourist sites such as the Colosseum in Rome and the beaches of the French Riviera. And let's say it's already winter and you're about to go on the ski vacation you've been waiting for all summer.
You are already on your way to the flight that will take you to the Alps. All the equipment is ready and packed and the travel agent is on the line: "Sorry, we were informed at the moment that there is not enough snow on the slopes. The website you signed up for is closed until next winter." With great sadness you unpack your bags and console yourselves. Next winter? In Hermon? Maybe you'll even stay in Israel, jump to the camp with the kids.

These images are part of the forecast of experts for large parts of the world, including areas in Europe and the Middle East. In the next hundred years the average temperature in Europe will be
It is almost eight degrees higher, and the sea level, which is also steadily rising, will bring with it unprecedented floods followed by protracted forms. An extreme, unpredictable and unstable climate is starting to give its signals already, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. add
Add to that hunger, poverty, breathing difficulties and migraines and you will realize that the worst is yet to come. Prepare the camels and floats. The spread of the desert in areas that were previously fertile and rainy, a phenomenon known as desertification,
It is one of the real dangers facing human existence today. It affects, even now, almost all the countries of the world to one degree or another, and as of today it seems that it is only getting worse. Many scientists are already warning and saying that global warming is harming glaciers and snowy peaks used as ski resorts. The results will be visible on the surface in less than 15 years. A number of low ski resorts are expected to reach a state where there is no snow at all and they
will be forced to quarantine. A billion people have already been affected
Prof. Pinchas Alpert, an expert on the effects of regional changes on the climate in the Department of Geophysics at Tel Aviv University, says that the local desert forecasts for the next hundred years are very bad. The regional warming will worsen and the average temperature is expected to rise between two and six degrees. "Perhaps this has not been heard much, but it has great meaning and many consequences, especially when it comes to extreme temperatures, drought and floods," he says. When nature no longer succeeds in compensating for the natural erosion processes by itself, the desert phenomenon begins to give its signals, destroying the layers of the earth The supremacy, to strip sensitive lands of all their productive capacity, and eventually bring poverty and lack of food and water with it.

Almost 70 percent of the used land in the world suffers in the last century from erosion and a significant decrease in the quality of its fertility. A billion people, about a sixth of the world's population, already
were affected by the desert and its consequences, and many of them are forced to migrate and move to the growing cities in order to find livelihood and food.

Global warming, a global process that simply means less rain and more arid areas, is not the sole cause of the danger of desertification. Global warming is a global process
Global, but the desert is mainly affected by local, physical and chemical processes, which cause increased erosion. Thus, for example, dense settlement in a certain area, and an attempt to satisfy the food needs of the population with the help of excessive agricultural growth, will cause excessive exploitation of the soil's fertility and its erosion, its disconnection from the subsoil and in fact guarantee that it will be washed away in the next rain or sandstorm. Trees also play an important role in keeping the fertile soil close to the base soil, so cutting them down will cause the hold to be released, and again to drift. Excessive grazing and improper watering, everything
Man-made, only feed the phenomenon and encourage it. The problem begins because of the circular process underlying the desertification effect - as vegetation also brings moisture with it, and therefore also
Clouds and rain, as well as bright and arid areas inevitably create more dryness and less precipitation.

There used to be a lake here. The dangers in the desert are clear: when the phenomenon is severe, problems of lack of water and food arise
and livelihood, extinction of species of mammals, reptiles, insects and local plants, and of course poverty. However, even when the phenomenon is at its beginning, its effects are evident - not only does it accelerate the
The process of warming, the melting of glaciers and snow, as well as the dryness and aridity that accompany it cause a lot of dust that is carried far away, as a result of which sandstorms are formed, and dust clouds that block sunlight. All these factors harm the quality of life and increase the chances of damage to the health of those living in those areas: from severe headaches and fatigue to
Severe allergies and an increase in the incidence of respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. As an extreme example of the destructive effect of the desert, we can point to the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan. Just forty years ago, the Hima area was a busy port and fishing spot
successful. The lake, which was once the fourth largest in the world, has become almost entirely a desert, and the bleached areas in it, which look like snow from a distance, are actually salt. Today it can be found in the area mainly
diseases. The percentage of cancer, tuberculosis and birth defects of the residents of the area is thirty times higher than before, due to the contamination of the water with salt and pesticides. Local residents testify that the food
And the livelihood died along with their lake, and they constantly suffer from hunger and disease. In recent years, the UN has joined the fight against the phenomenon while trying to raise awareness of the problem. Even if it sounds apocalyptic, UN experts repeatedly warn that within a few years large parts of the world will turn into piles of dust and one big wasteland. But we should not think for a moment that the desert problem is the property of the developing countries only and that it does not threaten our region. on the contrary. In Europe, too, they fear that a drought like the one that hit the Aral Sea will reach them too, especially in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean countries. In Morocco, for example, they are already warning that 90 percent of the country's territory is under the threat of desertification,
Because of population growth, the uncontrolled development of the local infrastructure and the exploitation of natural resources to an excessive and incorrect extent.

Southern European countries already know that the vigorous cultivation of olives causes serious environmental damage, irreversible damage to the quality of the soil and the spread of desertification. Recent forecasts show
that at the current rate of growth desertification is about to affect a third of the surface of Europe. However, the greatest concern of Europeans today is the damage caused to the Alpine peaks, which are used as sites
skiing and bringing many tourists. According to recent estimates, by the end of this century, between 50 and 90 percent of the glaciers of the Alps will melt and disappear completely. The border line of the mountain glaciers continues to recede and low ski resorts are preparing to bear the consequences and what about us? Well, surprisingly, the local damages, those caused by the residents on a point-by-point basis, are not as serious as in other Mediterranean countries. Prof. Alpert even points out that in Israel the phenomena of desertification and anti-desertification exist at the same time. "The phenomenon of overexploitation of the land does not occur in Israel. But we are subject to the influence of man
on a global scale," Alpert explains. "The local effect in the south is actually positive," he says, "also as a result of settlement that leads to increased planting of vegetables that create moisture
and encourages precipitation, and also as a result of infrastructures such as the national carrier that led to a change in the color of the soil from light to green." However Alpert does not recommend sinking into complacency. "The Mediterranean region has been severely affected by global warming. The Red Sea phenomenon - which brings with it drought and floods, has doubled in recent years. The predictions for the future portend far worse things and we hope they are exaggerated. For sure, the path we are on is not good", he concludes.

Environmentalist - Earth

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