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June 8 2013

Africa's Worst Drought Tied to West's Pollution


The biggest drought to hit the planet in the 20th century, the Sahel drought sucked Central Africa dry from the 1970s to the 1990s. The severe famines that resulted killed hundreds of thousands of people during this period and gained worldwide attention.

A new study blames the dry spell on pollution in the Northern Hemisphere, primarily from America and Europe. Tiny particles of sulfate, called aerosols, cooled the Northern Hemisphere, shifting tropical rainfall patterns southward, away from Central Africa, according to research published April 24 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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