By Zakari Usman
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has published a regional report, titled ‘The Climate in Africa: 2013,’ which examines temperatures, precipitation and extreme weather events in each of the continent’s sub-regions.
The publication is WMO’s first peer-reviewed statement on regional climate conditions in what is intended to become an annual series. Modeled on the global statements released by WMO every year, the report was produced by an African Task Team composed of experts representing each of the continent’s sub-regions, in consultation with the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD).
The report includes sections on temperature and rainfall in Southern Africa, South-West Indian Ocean Island Countries, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Western Africa and Northern Africa. It further addresses 2013 extreme weather and climate events on the continent, including: floods and heavy precipitation; tropical cyclones and wind storms; and droughts, heat waves and fires.
The report indicates that the year 2013 was one of the warmest in Africa since at least 1950, with temperatures above average in most regions. While rainfall at the continental scale was near average, the publication outlines several extreme events that hit the region, including the floods in Mozambique in January and a severe drought in Namibia and neighboring countries.
“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, highlighting the need to inform decisions about disaster risk, agriculture, water resources and public health as the driving force behind the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Adaptation Programme in Africa led by WMO and funded by Norway.
A partnership among national governments, and international agencies and research institutes, the Programme, which is also supported by the Regional Climate Outlook Forums established through WMO for Southern Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, Northern Africa and the Greater Horn of Africa, is increasing the resilience of those most vulnerable to climate change impacts