Intensified Rain and Storm Cycles Hit Southeast Africa Due to Climate Change

Intensified Rain and Storm Cycles Hit Southeast Africa Due to Climate Change

Earlier this year, southeastern Africa was hit with a deluge of rain from three tropical cyclones and two tropical storms over just six weeks. The extreme rainfall impacted more than a million people in Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique. According to a new report based on analysis by World Weather Attribution (WWA) climate scientists, climate change -- specifically the 1.2 degrees Celsius of warming caused by human activities -- increased rainfall.

"Again we are seeing how the people with the least responsibility for climate change are bearing the brunt of the impacts," climatologist and WWA’s co-lead Friederike Otto told France 24.

Guardian: Climate change is making floods worse - here's how, October 19, 2021.

Good Morning America: Madagascar on brink of world's 1st climate change-driven famine, November 1, 2021.

Why This Matters

Natural disasters disrupt lives, and the increased intensity of these storms shows how climate change makes extreme weather events more damaging. That storms are getting stronger and happening more often is a threat multiplier, forcing people from their homes and incurring property damages that require time and resources to rebuild. The storms in southeastern Africa killed at least 310 people, destroyed more than 45,000 homes, and displaced about half a million people, according to Inside Climate News.

Amanpour and Company (PBS): The Great Climate Migration Has Begun, May 24, 2021.

WW0: Facebook Live conversation on national security, climate migration and the climate crisis, September 9, 2020.

NOAA: U.S. 2021 Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

Data Dilemma

While scientists were able to say that climate change had an impact, they weren’t able to be more precise about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions because there wasn’t any extensive, high-quality historical weather data in the countries studied. This is part of a broader pattern where poorer nations, more vulnerable to climate change, don’t have the same level of historical data to use as wealthier nations.

"Strengthening scientific resources in Africa and other parts of the global south is key to help[ing] us better understand extreme weather events fueled by climate change, to prepare vulnerable people and infrastructure to better cope with them,” Dr. Izidine Pinto, a climate system analyst at the University of Cape Town, said to the Associated Press.

Robin Hood: "This is Loss and Damage - Who Pays" narrated by Mark Strong, September 23, 2021.

Meanwhile, In The Philippines

Landslides and floods in the Philippines this week have killed close to 70 people and forced thousands to flee their homes. "It’s supposed to be the dry season but maybe climate change has upended that,” said Marissa Miguel Cano, the public information officer for Baybay City. Typhoons have also been increasingly intense in a warming, climate-changed world, and the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to typhoons, getting hit by an average of 20 per year.

Al Jazeera: Philippines Super Typhoon Rai | Intensity blamed on climate change, December 28, 2021.

ITV: Thousands feared dead after Cyclone Idai rips through southern Africa, March 19, 2019.