Glaciers capping three of Africa’s iconic mountains – Mount Kenya in Kenya, Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – will likely disappear over the next two decades due to human-induced climate change, estimated the World Meteorological Organization in a new report on Tuesday.
Why is this important: WMO has warned that the loss of glaciers is just one effect that climate change will have on the continent, as rising temperatures, changing precipitation, rising sea levels and more weather conditions. extremes are likely to exacerbate food insecurity, economic and political instability, and population displacement.
- It’s a stark reminder that although African countries are responsible for less than 4% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, they may face some of the most serious impacts of climate change.
- The report is the result of collaboration between WMO, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa, international and regional scientific organizations and other United Nations agencies.
The three glaciers are too small to serve as major water reservoirs for countries, they are key tourist attractions and scientific topics.
- Their size has been decreasing since about 1880 due to changing sea surface temperatures and the reduction in the amount and frequency of snowfall.
- WMO has estimated that they will be gone by the 2040s, with the glacier atop Mount Kenya disappearing a decade earlier than the others, possibly becoming the first mountain range to lose glaciers due to the change. climate.
What they say : “In 2020, climate indicators in Africa were characterized by continuous warming of temperatures, accelerating sea level rise, extreme weather and climate phenomena, such as floods, landslides and droughts. , and associated devastating effects, “WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas wrote in the report’s foreword.
- “The rapid shrinkage of the last remaining glaciers in East Africa, which are expected to melt entirely in the near future, signals the threat of an imminent and irreversible change in the earth system,” he added.
In 2020, the floods have largely affected parts of East Africa, where 285 deaths have been reported in Kenya and 155 deaths have been reported in Sudan.
- More than 1.2 million people were displaced by climatic disasters that year, and nearly 500,000 people were forced to flee conflict.
- Above-normal rainfall caused flooding in the Sahel, the Rift Valley, the central Nile basin and northeastern Africa, the Kalahari basin and the lower Congo River.
- Dry conditions hit the northern coast of the Gulf of Guinea and in northwest Africa and along the southeastern part of the continent, while drought in Madagascar triggered a humanitarian crisis.
And after: WMO released the report ahead of the United Nations climate conference in Scotland, which begins on October 31.
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