March 21, 2022


A new study by researchers at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences has linked heatwaves to global warming.

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Heat Waves in Africa Linked to Global Warming

Heat Waves in Africa Linked to Global Warming

fetching water is one of the areas women and girls spend some of their hours on

Nairobi is one of the cities that have been hit by alarming heat waves in the recent past, with temperatures rising up to 31 degrees in the past two weeks.

Residents are feeling the heat and the aftermath of these heatwaves and some areas have been hit by water shortages already due to reducing water levels in boreholes.

Some residents of Kahawa Sukari were left in shock last week when a caretaker of an apartment they live in announced in the residents’ WhatsApp group that water levels in a borehole that services the apartment had significantly dropped that it was not possible to pump the water.

Global warming is real! This issue has never hit home until today. I have lived here for the last 7 years and we have never experienced such a thing,” said Mwangi, a resident at the premises.

In Nairobi’s Eastlands, where water shortage is quite the norm, residents also feel the difference this time.

We have had water shortages but this one is different, we go for longer days and even weeks before you get running water” Mama Ann.

The World Meteorological Organisation declared 2019 one of the warmest years globally since 1850.

Heatwave Hotspots Linked to Urban Agglomerations in Africa

A new study by researchers at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences has linked heatwaves to global warming, warning that “Due to global warming, heatwave events will likely cause severe damage to natural ecosystems and human society” saying Urban Areas are more at risk.

Urban areas are at higher risk owing to the significant economic activities carried out there and the populations residing in them. As such, it is becoming important to understand the characteristics of recent changes in heatwave patterns. The study says.

According to the study, there was a major shift in the spatial distribution of heatwave hotspots from the equatorial region in the baseline period (1981–2010) to large areas up to the temperate climate zones (above 30°N and 30°S) in 2019, affecting more urban agglomerations.

The proportion of urban agglomerations (population) exposed to extreme (99th percentile) heatwaves in the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere rose from 4% (5 million people) and 15% (17million people) respectively in the baseline period, to 36% (43 million people) and 57% (53 million people) respectively in 2019.

Overall, the heatwave hotspots of 2019 in Africa were accompanied by seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and above-normal sea surface temperature, likely as a result of large-scale forcing due to climate change”.

The scientists say that the findings of this study are significant for human health, energy consumption, and water security in developing and vulnerable regions such as Africa that are experiencing population growth but have low adaptive capacity.

We, therefore, advocate for sustainable urban planning with innovative solutions to help minimize the impact of heatwave exposure over Africa in the coming years.” Prof. JIA Gensuo, corresponding author of the study.



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