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Climate change in Libya and desertification of Jifara Plain

09: Chemie, Pharmazie und Geowissenschaft. 09: Chemie, Pharmazie und Geowissenschaft
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  • Climate Change
  • Desertification
  • Libya
  • Jifara Plain
  • Geography And Travel
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Law


The study was arranged to manifest its objectives through preceding it with an intro-duction. Particular attention was paid in the second part to detect the physical settings of the study area, together with an attempt to show the climatic characteristics in Libya. In the third part, observed temporal and spatial climate change in Libya was investigated through the trends of temperature, precipitation, relative humidity and cloud amount over the peri-ods (1946-2000), (1946-1975), and (1976-2000), comparing the results with the global scales. The forth part detected the natural and human causes of climate change concentrat-ing on the greenhouse effect. The potential impacts of climate change on Libya were ex-amined in the fifth chapter. As a case study, desertification of Jifara Plain was studied in the sixth part. In the seventh chapter, projections and mitigations of climate change and desertification were discussed. Ultimately, the main results and recommendations of the study were summarized. In order to carry through the objectives outlined above, the following methods and approaches were used: a simple linear regression analysis was computed to detect the trends of climatic parameters over time; a trend test based on a trend-to-noise-ratio was applied for detecting linear or non-linear trends; the non-parametric Mann-Kendall test for trend was used to reveal the behavior of the trends and their significance; PCA was applied to construct the all-Libya climatic parameters trends; aridity index after Walter-Lieth was shown for computing humid respectively arid months in Libya; correlation coefficient, (after Pearson) for detecting the teleconnection between sun spot numbers, NAOI, SOI, GHGs, and global warming, climate changes in Libya; aridity index, after De Martonne, to elaborate the trends of aridity in Jifara Plain; Geographical Information System and Re-mote Sensing techniques were applied to clarify the illustrations and to monitor desertifi-cation of Jifara Plain using the available satellite images MSS, TM, ETM+ and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). The results are explained by 88 tables, 96 figures and 10 photos. Temporal and spatial temperature changes in Libya indicated remarkably different an-nual and seasonal trends over the long observation period 1946-2000 and the short obser-vation periods 1946-1975 and 1976-2000. Trends of mean annual temperature were posi-tive at all study stations except at one from 1946-2000, negative trends prevailed at most stations from 1946-1975, while strongly positive trends were computed at all study stations from 1976-2000 corresponding with the global warming trend. Positive trends of mean minimum temperatures were observed at all reference stations from 1946-2000 and 1976-2000, while negative trends prevailed at most stations over the period 1946-1975. For mean maximum temperature, positive trends were shown from 1946-2000 and from 1976-2000 at most stations, while most trends were negative from 1946-1975. Minimum tem-peratures increased at nearly more than twice the rate of maximum temperatures at most stations. In respect of seasonal temperature, warming mostly occurred in summer and au-tumn in contrast to the global observations identifying warming mostly in winter and spring in both study periods. Precipitation across Libya is characterized by scanty and sporadically totals, as well as high intensities and very high spatial and temporal variabilities. From 1946-2000, large inter-annual and intra-annual variabilities were observed. Positive trends of annual precipi-tation totals have been observed from 1946-2000, negative trends from 1976-2000 at most stations. Variabilities of seasonal precipitation over Libya are more strikingly experienced from 1976-2000 than from 1951-1975 indicating a growing magnitude of climate change in more recent times. Negative trends of mean annual relative humidity were computed at eight stations, while positive trends prevailed at seven stations from 1946-2000. For the short observation period 1976-2000, positive trends were computed at most stations. Annual cloud amount totals decreased at most study stations in Libya over both long and short periods. Re-markably large spatial variations of climate changes were observed from north to south over Libya. Causes of climate change were discussed showing high correlation between tempera-ture increasing over Libya and CO2 emissions; weakly positive correlation between pre-cipitation and North Atlantic Oscillation index; negative correlation between temperature and sunspot numbers; negative correlation between precipitation over Libya and Southern Oscillation Index. The years 1992 and 1993 were shown as the coldest in the 1990s result-ing from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, 1991. Libya is affected by climate change in many ways, in particular, crop production and food security, water resources, human health, population settlement and biodiversity. But the effects of climate change depend on its magnitude and the rate with which it occurs. Jifara Plain, located in northwestern Libya, has been seriously exposed to desertifica-tion as a result of climate change, landforms, overgrazing, over-cultivation and population growth. Soils have been degraded, vegetation cover disappeared and the groundwater wells were getting dry in many parts. The effect of desertification on Jifara Plain appears through reducing soil fertility and crop productivity, leading to long-term declines in agri-cultural yields, livestock yields, plant standing biomass, and plant biodiversity. Desertifi-cation has also significant implications on livestock industry and the national economy. Desertification accelerates migration from rural and nomadic areas to urban areas as the land cannot support the original inhabitants. In the absence of major shifts in policy, economic growth, energy prices, and con-sumer trends, climate change in Libya and desertification of Jifara Plain are expected to continue in the future. Libya cooperated with United Nations and other international organizations. It has signed and ratified a number of international and regional agreements which effectively established a policy framework for actions to mitigate climate change and combat deserti-fication. Libya has implemented several laws and legislative acts, with a number of ancil-lary and supplementary rules to regulate. Despite the current efforts and ongoing projects being undertaken in Libya in the field of climate change and desertification, urgent actions and projects are needed to mitigate climate change and combat desertification in the near future.

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