Climatic change in SE Europe can be characterized by the term aridification, which means increasing semi-aridity, manifested in an increase of mean annual temperature and at the same time in a decrease in the yearly precipitation. The paper deals with research results obtained within the framework of the MEDALUS II project (funded by the Commission of the European Communities). The project had the following objectives: (i) Assessment of the impact of global change on the climate of the investigated area, including possible future climates. (ii) Physical processes of aridification, including studies of groundwater level change, soil moisture profile dynamics, soil development, vegetation change and soil erosion. (iii) Land use change, involving research on present land use and suggestions for the future. Various methods were applied with respect to the different research objectives. (i) Statistical analysis of climatic oscillations and computer runs of climatic scenarios, (ii) Analysis of ground water data, mapping and analysis of soils and vegetation, assessment of present and future soil, and (iii) Land capability assessment through ranking environmental conditions according to the demands of the most widely grown arable crops in Hungary. According to our results i) the average annual warming during the last 110 years was +0.0105 °C, and precipitation decreased by 0.917 mm/year; ii) a decline of -2 to -4 m in the annual mean groundwater level can be detected in the most sensitive areas, with gradual lowering of the water table in alkali ponds; complete desiccation of some of them severs the direct contact between groundwater and salt-affected soils, the solonchak soil dynamics cease, helophile and hygrophile plant associations disappear, and consequent changes in the soil erosion regime are likely to lead to disastrous erosion in the future; iii) the climatic changes induce a transformation in land use from arable crops to plantations, starting with orchards.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Part A: Solid Earth and Geodesy|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)