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Mimi Stith, Alessandra Giannini, John del Corral, Susana Adamo, and Alex de Sherbinin

1950s and 1960s to persistent dry conditions in the 1970s and 1980s is, in magnitude and spatial extent, unparalleled globally in the instrumental record ( Nicholson 2000 ; Hulme 2001 ; Trenberth et al. 2007 ; Greene et al. 2009 ). During the early 1970s, meteorologists posited that the drying was the result of local human activity in a positive feedback loop between poor land use practices, land degradation, and atmospheric response ( Charney 1975 ). Predating acid rain and global warming, the

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