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Insights for African countries from the latest climate change projections

Insights for African countries from the latest climate change projections

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a body of the UN tasked with providing scientific information on climate change – has released a major new report, pulling together evidence from a wide range of current and ancient climate observations. It’s the most up-to-date understanding of climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science.

It is crucial that we have a good understanding of the findings as they give an indication of what our future could look like.

According to the report global warming is evident, with each of the last four decades being successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850. Average precipitation on land has also increased since the mid-20th century. In addition, there is high confidence that mean sea level increased by between 0.15 and 0.25m between 1901 and 2018.

The major concern is that as warming continues, more extreme climate events, such as droughts, are projected to increase in both frequency and intensity. This warming is mainly driven by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities such as burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) and coal production.

When it comes to African countries, the report projects an increase in average temperatures and hot extremes across the continent. The continent will likely experience drier conditions with an exception of the Sahara and eastern Africa.

Alarmingly, the rate of temperature increase across the continent exceeds the global average. In addition, as warming continues, the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events are projected to increase almost everywhere in Africa. Maritime heatwaves and sea level rises are also projected to increase along the continental shores.

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