Climate change: Africa’s surface temperature rising more rapidly than elsewhere
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Cape Town - The rate of surface temperature increase has generally been more rapid on the African continent than the global average, with human-induced climate change being the dominant driver, according to a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in August.
The findings in the Sixth Assessment Report addresses the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from palaeoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations.
According to the report, there have been observed increases in hot extremes (including heatwaves) and decreases in cold extremes (including cold waves).
These waves are projected to continue throughout the 21st century with additional global warming, said the IPCC.
The working group found that marine heatwaves, which have become more frequent since the 20th century, are projected to increase around Africa.
The continent has also seen an increase in the relative sea level, which has increased at a higher rate than global mean sea level around Africa over the last three decades, the report found.
The IPCC said the relative sea-level rise is likely to continue around Africa, contributing to increases in the frequency and severity of coastal flooding in low-lying areas due to coastal erosion, mostly along sandy coasts.
In 2020, East Africa saw excessive flooding that affected at least 700 000 people, according to reports.
Sea-level rise is associated with climate change, including an increase in coastal erosion and salt water intrusion in drinking, hygiene and irrigation supplies, wrote Eos.org, a weekly magazine on earth science.
According to Vera Songwe, the UN under-secretary-general and executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, the sea-level increase exceeded 5mm per year in the south-western Indian Ocean along Africa’s east coast.
The region’s island nations, including Madagascar and Mauritius, are particularly vulnerable, she added.
According to reports, it is Africa’s west coast that is expected to see the biggest impact of rising sea levels.
Saint-Louis, in northern Senegal near the mouth of the Senegal River, has been identified by the UN as the city most threatened by rising sea levels in Africa.
African News Agency (ANA)