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Learn about planets outside our solar system through Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems by Tahir Yaqoob, Ph.D., a book in our online store book collection.
Starting at the top left and moving clockwise, this image shows extreme drought and dry soil that can cause vegetation to die, succulent yellow corn that grows when a plant has all of the resources it needs to thrive, graduate student, Frances O'Donnell, from Princeton’s Ecohydrology Lab working in Botswana with soil CO2 plots during the summer of 2008, and aid worker and nurse Bridget Holtz serving in the Red Cross Camp in Jacmel, Haiti, an area that has been hard hit by natural disasters like drought, famine and earthquakes.
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Starting at the top left and moving clockwise, permissions were granted from USGS, USDA, Dr. Caylor of Princeton University and Bridget Holtz.

Withering Crops - An Effect of Global Warming

Plants are very important to people. They give us food like corn, potatoes, lettuce, bananas and strawberries. Plants give us material like cotton for clothes. Trees give us paper and wood for building houses. When big changes happen to the plants around us, we are affected too.

Big changes are happening on our Earth. The Earth's climate is is warming. This rise in temperature means some parts of the world will get less rain and so the soil will be drier. Warmer temperatures and a lack of water will cause many plants to wither or die.

This becomes a big problem when the plants are crops, plants grown for food. If crops wither or die, then people will not have enough to eat. This can cause famine or even fighting because people don’t have what they need to survive.

Luckily, people around the world and scientists are helping with crop withering problems that could cause difficulties around the world. Scientists are looking to find ways that crops can grow without needing as much water or fertilizer. Researchers are also working on ways to tell if a drought is coming and they can work with aid agencies to send food to people in need.

Last modified February 10, 2011 by Jennifer Bergman.

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The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, available in our online store, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA