Floods in Nigeria are 80 times more likely with climate change

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — The heavy rains and floods that flooded Nigeria, Niger, Chad and the surrounding region between June and October this year have been made 80 times more likely due to climate change, according to a rapid analysis by international climate attribution experts.

Analysis released Wednesday night by the World Weather Attribution group used peer-reviewed methods and found that climate change was largely to blame for the heavy rains that killed more than 800 people, and that the worst is coming as global average temperatures continue to rise.

“We will see very intense rainfall in the region in the coming years,” warned climatologist Friederike Otto of Imperial College London, who led the study.

The devastating floods, among the worst in decades, have also displaced 1.5 million people in the region, injured thousands and damaged large swaths of urban and rural land, prompting calls for better preparedness. before future events.

“The lessons we are learning from the floods call for more concrete policies to consider future developments,” said Sheikh Kane of the Red Cross Climate Centre, calling on authorities in the region “to improve their level of preparedness”.

Scientists compared climate data from past and present weather information focusing on Lake Chad and the lower Niger River basins to determine the impact of warming temperatures on flooding. They found that the region’s rainy season was 20% wetter than normal due to climate change and that an event of this intensity now has a one in ten chance of occurring each year.

The researchers also analyzed the impact of climate change on the 2021 droughts which reduced agricultural production in the central Sahel and contributed to an ongoing food crisis, but could not draw any conclusions due to a lack of information. reliable data from weather stations.

The scientists called for greater investment in weather stations in the region to inform their work in the future and help communities prepare for extreme weather events.

“Resources are needed for Africa to create early warning systems and to build climate-resilient infrastructure and cities,” philanthropist Mo Ibrahim told The Associated Press.

In Sharm el-Sheikh, where the two-week UN climate conference known as COP27 is taking place, activists in the Niger Delta have called for an end to the fossil fuels responsible for climate change.

“Oil exploration is a huge contributor to climate crises, including the heavy flooding in Nigeria in October,” said Nigerian activist Lucky Abeng. powers the transmitters.

___

The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Teresa H. Sadler