he Horn of Africa is becoming drier in step with global warming, researchers said on Friday, contradicting some climate models predicting rainier weather patterns in a region that has suffered frequent food crises linked to drought.
A new study using a sediment core extracted from the Gulf of Aden found the East African region covering Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia has dried at an unusually fast rate over the past century.
Lead author Jessica Tierney, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the research team was confident the drying was linked to rising emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases, and was expected to continue as the region heats up further.
"If the region becomes dry, like we think it might get, that completely changes your models for food security and agriculture," she said.
Study co-author Peter deMenocal of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory warned that many aid groups are expecting "a wetter, greener future for the Horn of Africa". But the new findings show "the exact opposite is occurring".