By Kofi Adu Domfeh
Long-term climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather and climate events.
In Ghana, some regions have unexpectedly experienced incessant downpour in the month of March. Yet heatwaves abound throughout the country.
Heavy rains and heatwaves are among hazards faced by the ever-growing global population.
With urbanization and the spread of megacities, communities are exposed and vulnerable.
And people get worried.
In a WhatsApp group discussion, a lady quizzed: “Why does it rain only at night these days?”
Her question attracted a quick explanation in meteorology and climatology that “it rains mostly in the night because air is generally cooler at night, and cool air holds less moisture than warm air resulting in rainfall”.
But a socio-emotional explanation of the weather trend was sought after than the scientific account – the questioner was much worried at the lonely cold nights she has had to bear as a spinster.
And the sensually sexual reactions to the lady’s question were as intriguing as the unexpected changes in the weather condition.
“For smooth facilitation of reproduction,” one retorted in response to the question.
Another member on the platform also stated that “it is good for those of us who can’t afford air conditioning and its attendant electricity bills to enjoy cool weather”.
The group chat exposed the comfort and discomfort of extreme increases in environmental temperature.
Hot Discomforting Breeze
Barely a fortnight before the rains set in, many a family suffered heat waves day and night.
Social media had been agog with a circular cautioning an unbearable heat during daytime and at night.
“This is as a result of heat waves stemming from the emission of greenhouse gases. Experts have warned us to prepare for more hot days and warm nights. This preparation will require smart adaptation strategies and engaging in climate resilient practices to cope with the damage that has been done,” said the unknown author of the circular.
It was therefore welcoming when the rains arrived after a long dry spell of heatwaves that cut deep into the skin.
Kojo and her partner enjoyed a soothing night sleep after an evening’s downpour.
“Now I can put my legs on my wife,” he exclaimed.
Apparently, intimacy between the couple had been strained by the heat waves. The two could hardly stay in bed at night; their romantic intimacy of cuddling suffered in the hands of discomforting night sweat under the hot breeze.
“It gets irritating to go skin-to-skin when you and your partner are already drowning in sweat. Even late night cold showers don’t help matters,” said Kojo. “How can you be on heat when you’re already on fire?”
Persistent extreme weather events
As soothing as it may have been, the first rains in the year 2018 left Ghana’s capital city flooded.
Up north in Tamale, the heat waves remained unbearable even before Midday.
New research by scientists at Stanford University predicts extreme weather events are set to occur more frequently, even if the central goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement to limit the global temperatures rise to well under 2°C is met.
The researchers analyzed the likelihood of warm, dry, and excessively rainy periods in the coming years, all of which are already exacerbated by rising global temperatures and sea levels.
Weather-ready, climate-smart is the theme of World Meteorological Day 2018. This reflects one of the top priorities of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – to protect lives, livelihoods and property from the risks related to weather, climate and water events.
The Organization has noted that “now more than ever, we need to be weather-ready, climate-smart and water-wise” as climate services can inform decisions on both climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Certainly, the warm, dry periods will be causing havoc to romantic relationships as the excessive rainy periods break communities apart.
Adaptation to the inevitable impacts of climate change will doubtless become increasingly important over the coming years.