June 13, 2024
International Climate Experts Reveal The Cause of Recent Heavy Rains(EXPLAINED)

International Climate Experts Reveal The Cause of Recent Heavy Rains(EXPLAINED)

The torrential rains that pummeled Kenya and most of East Africa from March to May were more than just poor luck. 

According to a study published on Friday, May 24, an international team of climate experts discovered that climate change, combined with the fast expansion of metropolitan areas, has considerably exacerbated the impact of these rains. 

The findings of World Weather Attribution, a group of scientists that study the impact of human-caused climate change on extreme weather occurrences, provide a bleak picture of the repercussions of a warming planet. 

The downpours unleashed floods that killed hundreds of people, displaced thousands, ravaged cattle, and destroyed massive areas of crops throughout the region.

To determine the role of human activity in aggravating floods, researchers methodically examined weather data and climate models. 

International Climate Experts Reveal The Cause of Recent Heavy Rains(EXPLAINED)
Massive Housing Campaign br President Ruto

Their investigation concentrated on the areas severely devastated by the deluge, which included southern Kenya, most of Tanzania, and a piece of Burundi.

As of May 17, an estimated 1.6 million people have been affected by the deluge, with 473 people killed and nearly 410,350 people displaced.

Their worrisome conclusion: climate change has made such severe rains twice as likely and 5% more intense.

And the future isn’t encouraging: as temperatures rise, the frequency and severity of these catastrophic showers are expected to increase much higher.

“We’re likely to see this kind of intensive rainfall happening this season going into the future,” warned Joyce Kimutai, the lead author of the study and a research associate at Imperial College London.

The report bluntly states: “Taking these findings and the known physical relationship that heavy rainfall is expected to increase in a warming world, we conclude that the observed increase in rainfall in the region over the last 15 years is in part driven by human-induced climate change.”

But climate change isn’t the only culprit. The growing urbanization of East African cities is compounding the risk of flooding.

The deluge wreaked havoc on urban areas, particularly densely populated informal settlements, exposing the shortcomings of urban design in dealing with rapidly growing populations and catastrophic weather occurrences.

In East Africa, the “long rains” season lasts from March to May, and it is usually characterized by heavy downpours. 

However, recent occurrences have deviated significantly from typical.

Prior to this, the region experienced flooding during the “short rains” of October to December 2023, as well as a three-year drought, all of which were exacerbated by climate change, according to WWA experts.

Philip Omondi, a climate change specialist at the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre in Nairobi, stated that human-caused catastrophic floods and droughts are intensifying and becoming more frequent.

Shaun Ferris, senior technical advisor for agricultural and climate change at Catholic Relief Services in Nairobi, emphasized the critical need for resilient infrastructure to withstand the effects of climate change.

“There is huge pressure on basic services,” Ferris underlined, citing Nairobi’s double population over the last two decades.

Ferris advocated for using the loss and damage budget for climatic disasters to repair and strengthen essential infrastructure.

International Climate Experts Reveal The Cause of Recent Heavy Rains(EXPLAINED)

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