The World Meteorological Organization has issued a report on the Climate in Africa 2013, the first in what is intended to be an annual series. It examines temperatures, rainfall and extreme events on a continent which is especially vulnerable to natural climate variability and long-term climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions.
The year 2013, was one of the warmest years on the continent since at least 1950, with temperatures above average in most regions. Precipitation at the continental scale was near average, according to the report here.
Several extreme events hit the region. The floods that hit Mozambique in January 2013 were among the 10 most severe in the world that year, based on the number of deaths. In contrast, the rains in Namibia and neighboring countries fell well below normal, leading to a severe drought.
“This regional statement provides further evidence that weather and climate services are vital for protecting life and property in Africa,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The need to inform decisions about disaster risk, agriculture, water resources, public health and other climate-sensitive sectors is the driving force behind the WMO-led and Norway-funded Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Adaptation Programme in Africa,” he said.
The Climate in Africa: 2013’ is WMO’s first peer-reviewed statement on regional climate conditions. It is modeled on the global statements issued by WMO every year. It was produced by an African Task Team composed of experts representing every sub-region of the Continent, in consultation with the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD).
The publication highlighted other long term environmental issues that need high attention, including the risk of a total depletion of Kilimanjaro glacier by mid of this century, the only existing glacier in Africa and the urgent need for improving the adequacy and sustainability of GHG observations over the continent.
WMO’s Regional Association for Africa, which is currently meeting in Cabo Verde, approved a resolution that the Africa Climate statement should be compiled and issued on an annual basis.