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Friday, April 6, 2018

Rainfall in Africa

Rainfall in Africa

Several damaging climate effects in Africa are associated with water in the form of uncertain rainfall and stress on Africa river systems.

Africa Rainfall Issues

As global warming levels increase, drought, heat waves and heavy rainfall will become more pronounced. Part of Africa’s vulnerability is because over 90 percent of agriculture in Africa is dependent on rainfall.

Collecting groundwater in Africa
Collecting groundwater in Africa

Climate change is very likely to have an overall negative effect on yields of major cereals crops across Africa. Significant crop effects are already being felt. Across the region, yields of maize are predicted to decline sharply by 2050, with average predicted losses on this basic food staple ranging from 5 percent for the region overall to 11 percent in southern Africa. In areas with higher levels of warming, yields may decrease by 15–20 percent across all crops and regions.

Southern Africa faces the risk of more severe and protracted droughts and periods of extremely low and extremely high rainfall could become more common. Climate models are broadly consistent in predicting that rains will be heavier, particularly in the wetter areas of tropical Africa, increasing flood hazards.

Eastern Africa is projected to become more humid and wetter. As exposure to flood risk goes up, socio-economic losses will increase, especially in smaller catchments that are prone to flash floods and have high population densities. Unprecedented heat extremes are projected over more areas of land in Eastern Africa resulting in significant changes in vegetation and putting some plant species at risk of extinction. Heat and drought would also result in severe losses of livestock.

Just like the majority of the world, most Africans rely on groundwater for household needs, particularly in rural areas. Rainfall changes could greatly limit water availability in some African regions. One model for southern and west Africa predicts decreases in groundwater recharge rates of 50–70 percent. The combination of changes in the flow of streams and rising temperatures is also expected to have broadly negative impacts on freshwater ecosystems and water quality.  In other regions, such as the Horn of Africa, greater rainfall could increase groundwater levels.

Did you know?
In Africa, over 400 million people are deprived of safe drinking water. In order to get water, people who can afford the option buy water from private water tanker operators for around $50 each month.

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