NIGER IS LOCATED in western Africa, just north of Nigeria. This landlocked country is already one of the hottest and driest places on the planet. It lies within the Sahel region, which has seen increasingly damaging droughts, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation, and overgrazing during the last 30 years. Four-fifths of the terrain is desert, characterized by rolling sand dunes, with the remaining fifth fairly productive savanna. The 13 million residents of Niger are among the world's poorest, with over 60 percent living below the poverty level. Many already face food and water insecurity as a daily fact of life. Climate change is projected to put this already vulnerable people on the brink of collapse.

A study of rainfall patterns for 1965–2000 showed that the climate in ...

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