Sunday, February 22, 2009

Worsening drought in Argentina


by Alex Deakin

Many parts of Argentina have been experiencing a very dry spell, which is being described by the National Meteorological Service as the most severe drought in a generation.

The worst affected area is the Pampas region in east and central Argentina, which is also the most important agricultural region of the country. Argentina is one of world’s top exporters of wheat, soy, corn and beef, but this year, crop yields are down, and hundreds of thousands of cattle have died.

The Pampas region is one of the driest parts of the country, as the Andes provide shelter from the persistent westerly winds. Here, most of the rainfall falls in the summer months of October until March. However, since March of last year, rainfall has been significantly below normal and temperatures have been unusually hot.

Drought conditions are fairly new to Argentina, which usually receives plentiful rainfall for much of the year. Therefore, few strategies are in place to deal with the ongoing drought.

The weather for Bahía Blanca in Buenos Aires state is forecast to be hot and dry for at least the next week, with no respite from the drought conditions on the horizon.

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