People living in the Kilombero Rivercatchment in east-central Tanzania make important water-use and farming decisions based on the seasonal forecasts they get from the country’s national meteorological service. This shows the importance of keeping regular, accurate forecast information flowing to communities on the ground, either through television and radio broadcasts or through the state’s agricultural extension services.
The Canary upwelling ocean current is a conveyor belt-like flow of ocean water that sweeps along the northwest coast of Africa. Winds blowing from the continent and out to sea drive the surface waters away from the coast, allowing cold, nutrient-rich waters to rush up from the ocean floor. These nutrients produce blooms of algae, which feed the microscopic animals in the water, the zooplankton, which are an important link in the food chain, which produces the rich fisheries here in the North Atlantic.
The floods which hit Malawi’s southern Shire River Basin in 2015 were the worst on record, according to the country’s Department of Disaster Management, causing widespread damage to roads, buildings, and farmlands. If the government wants to contain the risk of future flooding like this, it needs to plan with more than just the likely changes in rainfall patterns in mind due to climate change. They must also factor in changes in vegetation cover as farmers increase their footprint in the area, and people fell trees for firewood.
Residents of the Mozambican city of Beira may not have had enough agency to respond adequately to storm warnings issued by the state meteorological services ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Idai this month, because they may not have had anything to compare a storm of this magnitude to.
Here’s the scenario: sweet potato farmers in the Mukono region of northern Uganda are expecting a reasonable harvest this spring. But the country’s meteorological service has issued a seasonal forecast that doesn’t bode well. They’re predicting heavier than normal rainfall in April, and the root vegetable doesn’t like to have feet wet.
How does a small business like a restaurant or panel beater in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, buffer itself against the impact of the kind of extreme drought that hit Southern Africa in the summer of 2014, owing to the arrival of the El Nino weather phenomenon? It buys a diesel generator as a back-up, in case of power outages resulting when lower dam levels in Lake Kariba contribute to the country’s power utility throttling back on its hydro-electricity production. To make this kind of business investment, though, might mean getting a loan to finance the cost of the generator.
The following video presentations were recorded for the Fourth Africa Climate Resilience Investment Summit (ACRIS IV) hosted at the Sandton Conference Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa, from 05th - 07th March 2019.
Welcome to the March 2019 edition of the Future Climate for Africa newsletter
One of the toughest questions that climate scientists are hoping to answer for East Africa, is what will happen with the region’s tropical rainfall patterns and what that will mean for its two wet seasons. The most up-to-date findings draw together the results of 40 different climate models, giving policy makers in the region something of a roadmap which can help them plan towards a future where drought and flood events will become more extreme and less predictable.