Global climate change is causing many deserts of the world to expand, exposing large populations of people to drought and famine conditions. Some of the largest deserts of the world, such as the Sahara, are expanding as the global atmospheric circulation patterns change, and hundreds of thousands of people have perished as crops have failed year after year in the sub-Saharan Sahel. The region has been plunged into civil unrest, partly resulting from drought. Areas in the Middle East have extremely limited water resources, and people in this region use much less water per person than people in European countries and in America. The threat of drought and political/religious difference in the region have created a situation where conflicts could easily break out over drought and water issues as the climate changes. In the U.S. desert Southwest, many new cities and communities have grown in areas with inadequate water supplies, and as the climate warms and the deserts expand, these areas will see increasing pressures on underground water resources and drought conditions. The desert and agricultural belts of America may expand and shift northward as the climate changes.
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