Impact of Climate Change on Soil and Land Degradation

  • Land degradation means reduction in the potential of the land to produce benefits from a particular land use under a specified form of land management.
  • Changes in climate are recognized as one of the major factors responsible for land degradation affecting sustained development.
  • Land degradation encompasses change in chemical, physical and biological property of the soil.
  • Soils are also crucial to food security and change in climate has threatened the food security by affecting the soil property.
  • The increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere causes the microbes in the soil to work faster to break down organic matter, potentially releasing more carbon dioxide.
  • Land exhibited to degradation as a consequence of poor land management could become infertile as a result of climate change.
  • The climate change results in the rise of Methane emission due to soil degradation it also results in large scale deforestation.

Impact of Climate Change on Erosional activities:

  • Climate change is expected to impact soils through changes in both soil erosion and rainfall.
  • Changes in soil surface conditions, such as surface roughness, sealing and crusting, may change with shifts in climate, and hence affect erosion rates.
  • Change in erosion can have significant implications for natural assets, agricultural lands and water quality.
  • Increased rainfall amounts and intensities will lead to greater rates of erosion unless protection measures are taken.
  • Land degradation hazards include wind and water erosion, loss of soil carbon, nutrient decline mass movement, soil structure decline, acid sulphate soils and soil acidification.
  • A significant potential impact of climate change on soil erosion and sediment generation is associated with the change from snowfall to rainfall.
  • Erosional activities also have a negative impact on biogeochemical cycle.

Climate Change and Groundwater Depletion:

  • Groundwater depletion, a term often defined as long-term water-level declines caused by sustained groundwater pumping, is a key issue associated with groundwater use.
  • Ground water plays a central part in sustaining ecosystems and enabling human adaptation to climate variability and change.
  • Increased variability in precipitation and more extreme weather events caused by climate change can lead to longer periods of droughts and floods, which directly affects availability and dependency on groundwater.
  • Groundwater depletion and contamination that will seriously compromise much of the world’s agriculturally-grown food supply.
  • Sea level rise because of climate change may lead to salt water intrusion into coastal aquifers affecting groundwater quality and contaminating drinking water sources.
  • Increasing climate-change-induced storm surges will flood coastal areas, threatening the quality of groundwater supplies and compromising their usability.

Impact of Climate Change on Human health:

  • Higher morbidity and mortality from heat stress and vector/water-borne diseases
  • Expanded transmission window for malaria as flooding would create opportunities for breeding of mosquitoes.
  • The frequency and severity of Heat waves in Pakistan and India would increase.
  • Endemic morbidity and mortality due to diarrheal disease primarily associated with floods and droughts are expected to rise in East, South and South-east Asia due to projected changes in hydrological cycles.
  • Dengue fever is already in evidence at higher levels of elevation in Latin America and parts of East Asia.
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