This paper explores six hypotheses/theories on Lake Chad’s degradation: i) natural climate variation; ii) anthropogenic climate change compounded the effects of the Sahel drought; iii) unregulated exploitation of Lake Chad’s hydrologic system overdrew the regenerative potential of the lake system; iv) high rates of deforestation in the tropical rain forest belt of West-Central Africa shifted the rain belt Southwards; v) pressure from rapidly expanding human and livestock populations exceeded the carrying potential of the Lake Chad ecosystem; and vi) anthropogenic aerosol emissions in the northern hemisphere shifted the tropical rain-belt southwards. The evidence shows that there is no single-cause explanation for Lake Chad’s degradation; rather the influence of global warming and climate change compounded those from pre-existing drought conditions and non-climate factors e.g unregulated exploitation of Lake Chad’s hydrologic system to degrade the lake.
The paper contributes to the existing literature by exploring six hypotheses/theories to show that the influence of global warming and climate change on ecosystems can be compounded by non-climate variables. The degradation of Lake Chad illustrates vividly the interaction between the climate factors and non-factors in eco-system degradation.
Lake chad, Global warming, Climate change, Sahel, Chad basin, Drought.
This research is not funded by any external body.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Both authors contributed equally to the conception and design of the study.