Drivers of soil salinity and their correlation with climate change

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
Eswar D., Karuppusamy R., Chellamuthu S.

Climate change has affected diverse spheres and its impact is being witnessed worldwide. Soil, the basis of human sustenance, is both directly and indirectly affected by climate change. Soil erosion, vegetation degradation and soil salinisation are becoming prevalent, causing a threat to future food security. Saline soils are found mainly in North and Central Asia, Africa and South America. Various factors such as excess irrigation and poor drainage, groundwater salinity, sea level rise and intrusion, irregular rainfall contribute to the process of soil salinisation. The key findings of this paper are as follows: Salt-affected soils cover an area of around 1060.1 Mha in the world and their area is gradually increasing due to the influence of climate change; soil salinity tends to increase with increase in sea level intrusion and temperature, decrease in precipitation and improper irrigation management. Though, soil salinisation has been extensively researched and recorded in coastal areas, inland areas are yet to be assessed and monitored and there is enormous scope for research on the correlation between climate change and soil salinity drivers at global and regional scale. This review aims to provide an insight into the widespread soil salinity phenomenon and highlight the need to tackle the issue urgently keeping food security and economic status of agricultural ecosystem dependent population in consideration.