How will West Africa’s climate ‘feel’ decades from now?
If you tell someone that the average temperature at the end of the century will be, say, 2°C hotter than today, that might not sound too bad.
After all, if today’s maximum temperature is 25°C, and tomorrow’s is 27°C, that’s pretty manageable, right? This experience of day-to-day weather fluctuations might explain why people may not worry too much about rising global temperatures in response to increasing carbon dioxide pollution in the atmosphere.
But if you describe a sleepless night during an insufferable heatwave, and that feeling of being almost drunk with fatigue the next day, someone might better relate their lived experience today with how different the future will be under the new climate regimes of tomorrow.
Communicating climate change forecasts in clinical numbers is one of the reasons people may not fully appreciate the threat to our collective wellbeing as increasing temperatures and extreme weather events become more likely with the world’s climate continuing to shift away from historic trends. This is the thinking behind a new paper that reframes, for the first time, how different West Africa’s climate will be by the close of this century.
How common will extreme weather events be in West Africa under global warming, relative to what we experience today, the researchers behind the study ask?
The paper, published recently in the journal Climate Change by researchers working with AMMA-2050, shows that by the end of the century the average day in West Africa will be well outside of what people experience in today’s climate. This is as the region warms and the monsoon rains are disrupted in response to worsening global atmospheric carbon pollution. The paper visits a number of locations across the region, and gives the likelihood of what a ‘typical’ day will be like at these locations, relative to the present climate#globalwarming #climatechange #carboncompensation #bluesky #climateemergency
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