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Tim Radford – Scorched earth threat to US agriculture

A deadly mix of prolonged drought and wildfire, driven by climate change, could do more than just lay waste to crops and woodland in the western US. It could scorch the earth and trigger ever greater levels of soil erosion.

Joel Sankey a researcher at the US Geological Survey, told the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, that by 2050 an increase in wildfires may double soil erosion in some western states. As a consequence, soil would blow or be washed into water courses.

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