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Climate Change Could Turn Ethiopia Into Food Exporter

Climate change is expected to wreak all kinds of havoc on future weather systems, with experts predicting greater and more frequent storms, hurricanes, droughts and floods. But even the darkest clouds have some silver lining, and a new study closely examining its effects on Ethiopia's Blue Nile Basin has uncovered exactly that in the form of projected increases in rainfall, which could spur greater crop yields and large-scale hydro-power projects in the region.

The idea that climate change could bring more water to the region is actually not a new one. Earlier studies that used temperature and precipitation from climate modeling have predicted that the phenomenon could boost Ethiopia's water availability by 10 percent, but according to researchers at Virginia Tech, this was leaving out some vital information.

In what it describes as a first-of-its-kind study, the team combined hydrologic models with bias-corrected and downscaled data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to form a more complete picture of water flow at two key headwater basins in the Blue Nile Basin, which feeds as much as 66 percent of the Nile River flowing through Sudan and into Egypt.

Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

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