Why things are really hotting up for SA
Temperature increases well above the global average, but SA is working on alleviation
If you think the weather is weird these days, you're only half right. The weather has always been weird and hard to predict.
However, the latest scientific data suggests Southern Africa's climate is changing faster than the global average.
Some experts say these changes may explain extreme events like devastating fires and seas.
An average temperature increase of 1.5°C-2°C across the region — well above the global average — has led to mitigation measures, ranging from resilient livestock to coastline storm barriers.
Climate change expert Francois Engelbrecht, of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, warned: "This is one of the reasons why we are so vulnerable — our temperatures are rising much faster than the global rate".
He said parts of northern Botswana have had a 3°C increase — well above the 2°C tipping point for dangerous climate change.Two new studies found:
A decline in the number of days per year with low minimum temperatures and an increase in days with high minimum temperatures. This is pronounced in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Gauteng;
A decline in the days per year with low maximum temperatures and an increase in days with high maximum temperatures;
A slight increase in daily rainfall extremes in the southern to western interior and increases in the intensity of daily rainfall; and
An increase in rainfall at most rainfall stations in the southern interior and indications of decreases in the far northern and northeastern parts (although significant, these changes were small).
Recent climate modelling shows a similar scenario. The consensus is that South Africa can expect:
An increase of 3°C-4°C in temperature on average by the end of the century;
Increases of around 1.5°C-2°C by mid-century;
Possible significant changes in rainfall by around 2050 with many provinces getting drier but KwaZulu-Natal getting wetter; and
A decline in the rainy days per year across Southern Africa, but an increase in the rainfall amounts during the wettest days...