Africa’s hottest March weather points to a hotter future
Africa’s record-breaking February and March 2016 heat is just an indication of what’s to come if the continent continue to lag behind other regions who are moving away from fossil fuels to combat climate change.In countries like Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique, Mauritius, Ethiopia among others have reported never seen before high levels of temperatures.Those in the coastal regions are the most affected with temperatures soaring to more than 38 degrees.Few days ago,I sought views of a Finnish environmental expert working in Sub Saharan Africa who warned Africa will continue to experience record-breaking heat and extreme weather in the wake of a damning reports that reveals a notable climb in average temperatures across the continent at the start of March.The Finn said conditions over the past few months had been unprecedented, and inaction from African countries following a global agreement in Paris to do more was disappointing and the current trend is a wake up call.”We’ve had three months in Africa where nothing has happened, but we got the announcement that emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have grown,” she said.African governments must take action, with policies to remove sources of pollution and build cleaner energy systems, she said.She added that March’s unseasonably warm spells show African countries are now experiencing the consequences of climate change yet they emit less carbon emission compared to other parts of the world.
Average global temperatures could be four to six degrees warmer by the end of the century if nothing is done, She said. “That is something we just don’t want to imagine especially with the current levels of poverty in Africa.She also revealed to me that at the moment we’re not even at one degree warming globally and we’ve seen such huge changes in places like Africa.The Finn also said Africa will continues to lag behind other regions when it comes to investment in alternative energy sources and the scaling down of traditional fossil fuels despite their naturally sunny and windy conditions.However, all is not gloom as countries like Kenya have taken giant step in increasing its reliability on renewable energy by investing in Geo Thermal power generation projects which are the largest in Africa while South Africa has invested heavily in solar energy.Other countries are following suit and there is a glimmer of hope that action is being taken.It’s something that African countries should be excelling at, and they should be showing the world how it’s done by reducing reliability of non renewable energies.African countries like Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana are pushing ahead in renewable energy. The continent is taking off slowly but thats not the same trend elsewhere in the world. Climate change has already begun to affect Africa’s tourism sector, with widespread coral bleaching in the East Africa Barrier Reef that runs from Mozambique in the South through to Tanzania and into Kenya which have been triggered by elevated sea surface temperatures.
Environmental scientists in the region last year upgraded the coral bleaching threat level after flying over the reef to observe some of the hardest hit areas around Zanzibar Island, coast of Tanzania and Wasini Island in Kenya’s south coast. “As you go north of Zanzibar Island, it becomes more severe,” one of the researcher involved told me. The extent of the damage prompted environmental researchers in the region to increase the coral bleaching threat from level two to level three.That means East African region environmental scientists are moving to immediately increasing monitoring, and that’s being coupled with action that is being taken.Africans are baking in very hot conditions because maximum temperatures are at least 6C above average, from March 1 to 15 with East Africa coastlines having temperatures of between 8 to 12C above average between early February 2016 to mid March 2016. Record 35 straight days over 30C in Nairobi Kenya, Dar Es Salaam Tanzania, Maputo Mozambique and Mombasa in Kenya.In Northern part of Kenya, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa have had over 38C days this month than ever before according to data I managed to sift through.Lusaka Zambia had hottest March night on record, at peak of 38.6C earlier this month. Gaborone had 10 straight days of 30C or more in February and early March and the situation hasn’t eased yet.Overall, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Somalia, are sweltering through eight straight days of 38C or more in March, breaking records for any month of the year.Globally, temperature records were broken when January and February were reported to be hotter than any other.Indeed climate change is a reality and sooner African countries and the world at large wakes up to the reality, the better.