More severe weather episodes expected

2016-03-30 06:00

AS the world observed World Meteorological Day last week, nations have been warned to expect hotter temperatures, more intense drought conditions and more intense rainfall and flooding.

These extreme weather conditions will directly threaten lives, livelihoods and property, according to a joint statement by Department of Environmental Affairs and the South African Weather Service (Saws) yesterday.

South Africa recently experienced the hottest temperature for October 2015 world-wide.

The statement said South Africa joined the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in 1994.

Data released by the WMO shows that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached new record levels in 2015.

Saws climate records of 2015 revealed that SA experienced the driest year on record since 1904.

“This can be attributed to variability in weather patterns due to climate change and the El Niño phenomenon, which is expected to subside by June 2016.

“The drought has been associated with an unprecedented frequency of heatwaves. SA recorded 48,4°C in Vredendal in October, the highest recorded temperature in the world for October, while 31°C maximum temperature records were shattered across SA in early January 2016.”

Climate research by WMO also reveals that each of the past several decades has been significantly warmer than the previous ones.

Globally, the period 2011-2015 has been the hottest on record, with the year 2015 the hottest since modern observations began in the late 1800s.

January and February 2016 have been recorded as the hottest months to date.

South Africa, a signatory to the Paris Agreement concluded at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in December 2015, is committed to cut carbon emissions. - Supplied.

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