Southern Hemisphere Going Dry Spell

Southern Hemisphere has been experiencing a more significant drying trend compared to the Northern Hemisphere over the past two decades. This trend, driven primarily by El Niño events, has far-reaching consequences, said a recent study.

The drying trend affects regions like South America, home to the Amazon rainforest. Reduced water availability can lead to decreased vegetation and an increased risk of fires. This not only threatens the forest’s biodiversity and Indigenous communities but could also release vast amounts of carbon stored in the vegetation and soils.


South America is a significant global agricultural exporter of crops like soybeans, sugar, meat, coffee, and fruits. Changes in water availability put additional stress on food systems worldwide, affecting global food supplies.

Drying across most of Africa poses challenges, given its diverse climatic zones and socio-economic disparities. The region’s limited resources for mitigation and adaptation make it vulnerable to food system pressures and habitat changes.

Northwest Australia, often considered a vast wilderness, is not immune to the drying trend. As drying alters vegetation patterns and increases temperatures, it affects the health of ecosystems and human populations, especially in urban areas.


Drying in central Australia has cascading effects on weather and climate in coastal regions where major cities and populations are concentrated. It leads to habitat stress, changes in wildfire patterns, depleted rivers, and impacts on human health.

The Southern Hemisphere’s drying trend may seem region-specific, but its implications are global. Changes in water availability during El Niño events create additional stress on habitats, species, human populations, and global food systems.


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