LONDON - Climate change will hit many African countries more severely than previously thought, according to a new report. Researchers warn that rapid population growth means more and more people will be affected by extreme weather events across the continent in the coming years.
Farmers in the Faranah region in Guinea, West Africa work the soil in preparation for seeding. The ground is dry and baked hard — the hoes and rakes kick up clouds of dust.
It’s the rainy season — but the skies are clear — the rain isn't falling. For rice farmers like Qulare Mohamed that could spell disaster.
He said that climate change has caused a shortage of rain and as we are not getting any rainfall and is very difficult for us to farm, we cannot plant our rice seeds because of the lack of rainfall.
The report from Britain’s Meteorological Office and Leeds University warns that climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels will bring chaos to Africa — with bouts of severe drought and flooding. Elizabeth Kendon of the Meteorological Office is co-author of the research.
“For the first time we have run a very high resolution climate model, on a par with the resolution that we typically use for weather forecasting. So this climate model is able to represent small-scale processes in the atmosphere with much greater realism. The small-scale processes are really important for how climate extremes might change over Africa,” she said.
Kendon said flash floods will become much more common across Africa.
“We found that those sort of events, which are typically say once every 30 years now, could be as frequent as once every three to four years in the future. In terms of wet extremes, heavy rainfall, we see changes across the whole of the continent. In terms of the dry extremes, particularly we find that central and Western Africa is affected,” she said.
The World Meteorological Organization warned that the month of July this year saw record heatwaves across the globe — a phenomenon that has in its words ‘rewritten climate history books.’
Scientists say people in Africa will likely be among the hardest hit by climate change over the coming decades – with less capacity to deal with the impact.