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Weather across sub-Saharan Africa has become more extreme and unpredictable in the 21st century, report states

Weather across sub-Saharan Africa has become more extreme and unpredictable in the 21st century, report states

A Greenpeace scientific report released this week revealed that extreme weather events such as heatwaves, floods and intense rain are increasing in intensity, frequency and severity across many parts of Africa, gravely threatening human health, food security, peace, and biodiversity.

Climate scientists project that the trend of unpredictable weather will become more pronounced in future decades.

This was confirmed by the comprehensive report published today by Greenpeace Africa and the Greenpeace Science Unit. The report ‘Weathering the Storm: Extreme Weather and Climate Change in Africa’ explores the relationship between extreme weather events and climate change in Africa and summarises the scientific data on how the climate crisis is spiralling out of control across Africa, including irregular extreme heatwaves, floods, droughts and cyclones at a scale hitherto unknown.

Climate-related problems can often be disproportionately felt in the poorest communities because they are least equipped to cope with and adjust to changes.

“Science shows there is very little that is natural in the disasters striking our continent. A human-made crisis requires a human-made solution. Africa is the cradle of humanity and it shall be the cradle of climate action for our future. Health, safety, peace and justice will not be achieved only through prayers and bags of rice and maize in the aftermath of a disaster. Only the one who preserves has no misfortune-and African leaders must declare a climate emergency to preserve our collective future,” said Melita Steele, Greenpeace Africa Programme Director.

According to the report, future average temperatures in Africa are projected to increase at a rate faster than the global average in all warming scenarios

The report also found that the mean annual temperature increase for much of Africa is projected to exceed 2 ℃ or to fall within the range of 3 ℃ to 6 ℃ by the end of the twenty-first century if high emissions continue – two to four times beyond the rise permitted in the Paris Agreement.

The rising temperature is likely to lead to deaths, displacement, climate-related conflict, irregular rainfall, drinking water shortages, obstruction of agricultural production and accelerated extinction of endemic African species.

The frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme heat events are expected to increase, following trends already observed in Southern, East and Northern Africa.

“There needs to be better incorporation of indigenous knowledge in scientific evidence on extreme weather events in Africa. African countries need to be more involved in leading the development of new databases and models rather than being dependent on countries outside Africa. This will ensure better communication, planning and future projects of events. Access to information needs to be provided at a community level,” said Ndoni Mcunu, a Climate Scientist, founder of Black Women in Science and co-author of the report.


About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys

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