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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Where it never rains...now it floods!

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, March 25, 2015/Categories: natural history, sustainability, climate change

In parts of Chile's  Atacama Desert  it almost never rains and any moisture that arrives from the ocean comes inland in dense fogs. That has all changed in the past several days as a massive series of extreme storms have hit the hyper-arid region. The flooding is almost Biblical for such a bone-dry region.

     
           Atacama Desert Landscape near Antofagasta, Chile and Regional Map   (credit: Wiki-commons)

According to the Chilean meteorological service, the mining town of Calama typically receives 0.2 inches of rainfall/per year and now it is flooded while the region's capital, Antofagasta, received an 1 inch of rain in a city that normally expects .07 inches, or more than 10 times its yearly average. Creek beds from the nearby Andes, that haven't had a trickle of water in decades, have now become raging torrents.

A local Chilean video illustrates the situation and a regional reporter asks a relevant question as to the role of climate change in this desert region of South America.



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