Rainfall and rangeland ecosystem response to climate change in La Patagonia, Argentina
The biophysical conditions that affect freshwater availability and supply in the world are changing. Patagonia — a region traditionally recognized for its great rivers, lakes and glaciers — represents the complex nature of such changes. While surface and groundwater availability is technically sufficient, the land is undergoing a stark process of desertification. As a result, the government declared the region in a ‘state of emergency’ seven years ago. As the premier wool-producing region in the Americas, and one of the first in the world, desertification has come at a high cost. Some estimates report the number of sheep lost in the millions.
While many factors can affect or cause desertification, I spent my summer investigating the effects of climate change on soil moisture. To do so, I joined the Natural Capital Project technical research hub at the National Patagonic Center, Argentina; a group specialized in hydrological ecosystem services. I am currently analyzing the information gathered during the summer. Overall, its been a terrific learning experience.