Water in the Desert

The Atacama desert is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The northern part of Chile is naturally dry. Many places have not have rainfall for many decades. It’s coastal region cooled by the Humboldt current coming from Antarctic. This also cools the desert. The people who live in this region get water from the Andes which flows through rivers such as the Copiapo. For many years humans have settled this region living in or on the edge of a cool dry desert. It was a predictable existence, in terms of climate and weather.

Things change. There has been exceptional rainfall in the Andes this year. In fact the rainfall has been so heavy that rivers have overflowed and burst their banks. There have been mudslides. Water damage has stopped electricity, cut off communications and flooding has polluted drinking water supplies. Water in the desert has caused great damage.

In the Southern part of Chile there has been a severe drought in regions normally free from drought. As a result vegetation is tinder dry and wildfires have started.

It remains to be seen whether these events are as a result of changes in ocean oscillations in turn caused by climate change.

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