The floods that devastated parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape in April, killing 435 people, were definitely linked to climate change and can be expected every 20 years.
The one predicted by World Weather Interval Attribution, a group of climate scientists, meteorologists and disaster experts, is half what they would have expected if it weren’t for climate change.
The experts said the two-day storm that caused the floods is the latest evidence of this that the harmful effects of global warming have arrived. Extreme events are expected to increase as warming continues, they warned.
“We must drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a new reality where floods and heat waves are more intense and damaging,” said one The study’s authors, University of Cape Town climate scientist Izidine Pinto.
World Weather Attribution quickly analyzes climate events so people remember them fresh, and their latest study was published just over a month after April 11 -12 storm that brought rain for half a year in some areas.
The experts use observational data and computer simulations that model the world as it is and in a hypothetical state, as if the previous warming of 1.1°C had not happened.
The finding that the probability of flooding due to global warming ge increased – allowing the atmosphere to hold more moisture – is consistent with many other studies of individual events and broader trends, the study says.
In addition to examining climate, t The researchers looked at factors contributing to the high death toll and damage from the floods.
These included legacies of apartheid policies, such as the 1958 Durban City Council measure, which left the majority of the people coveted for less and often at risk of flooding areas.
Researchers also pointed to the proliferation of informal settlements, home to 22% of Durban’s population. About 4,000 of the 13,500 homes damaged or destroyed in April were on riverbanks in these settlements, they said, and most of the deaths were there as well.
“Again, we are seeing how climate change is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable people , said Friederike Otto, a founder of World Weather Attribution and climate scientist at Imperial College London.
“The flooding of the Port of Durban, where African minerals and crops are shipped around the world, is also a reminder that there are no borders for climate impacts. What happens in one place can have significant consequences elsewhere.”
Christopher Jack, Associate Director of the Climate Systems Analysis Group at UCT, who participated in the study, said the floods had the “structural inequalities and vulnerabilities ‘ in the region.
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