Drought may become dry in many regions of France

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The waves of heat wave continues, while many temperature records and drought arrives this summer 2022 across Europe. According to innineteen of the warmest years have occurred since 2000, excluding 1998. The year 2020 is tied with 2016 for the warmest year on record since record keeping began in 1880″. The year 2022 can be added to this list of the hottest years on record.

But climate change is not just about temperature. Letters and crushed on glaciers, violent fires, severe droughts… So many extreme events that are increasing and promise to become more and more frequent. How can life survive this? The researchers suggest taking inspiration from places on Earth that have already been adapted climates hot and dry. In a journal study Nature Ecology and Evolutionthey are interested in dryland ecosystems and their functioning.

“More than a third of the earth’s surface is dry land”

If the idea makes you smile for a moment, it starts from a perfectly valid observation: while already “more than a third of the earth’s land is dry land”, explains the study, dry may affect many areas in 2100. According to a model built by researchers, about 17 million km² may be affected, equivalent to the area of ​​the United States and Brazil. Temperate zones, like France for example, see less frequent rains, and this in a regular way, that is to say every year. Because, at the moment, we are suffering from a severe drought but, by definition, it will not last.

In the future, the drought will be dry in many regions of France before the end of the century. “Our new knowledge will help improve our adaptive capacity to withstand climate extremes and reduce their effects on nature and people”says Heather Throop, co-author and professor of the studyArizona State University.

To investigate these possible adaptations, the team looked at the key processes that govern the dry ecosystem. In general, they identified a dozen of them that regulate the particular distribution and growth of plants, but also the cycle of carbonthe energy balance and the decay of materials dead.

“These mechanisms in dry land are controlled by environmental factors, such as intense solar radiation, high temperatures, large spaces between plants, and irregular water availability”, added H. Throop. They decided to focus on the current temperate or humid zones, and especially on their future. To do this, they modeled how mechanisms specific to drylands might develop elsewhere, depending on future climate conditions.

Adaptation to dryness is possible

They quickly identify processes that are quickly put in place, so they can happen in time droughts, and those, on the contrary, need more than a decade of dry conditions. Among those in the short term, they noticed the decay of dead matter through heat and the LIGHT from Sunspecific to dry land. “Decomposition of dead matter is important to the ecosystem because it releases substance for the growth of new plantsH. Throop explained. Often, in humid systems, this decay is caused by organisms such as bacteria that eats dead things. In dry systems, the rules are different — there’s more influence from sunlight and high temperatures that break down the materials that sit on top. So instead of having biology causing this breakdown, we have processes physical who leads it.

Distribution of water to plants, through the roots that reach the ground, can also occur in a longer term at this time, but also a distribution of plants. It will be smaller, with plants that can store water and survive in the face of weak and occasional rains. In addition, with an increased influence of sunlight compared to temperate zonesresearchers predict an increase in microorganisms formation scabs above the ground.

“What is also clear is that some of the predicted changes will occur in regions with high human populations and, therefore, will significantly affect the social well-being of those regions.concluded H. Throop. We need continuous research and monitoring of the functioning of the ecosystem despite the abundance and gravity increasing droughts and heat waves to improve our understanding of the processes emerged basics”.

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