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Africa: 'Human-caused' climate change caused deadly Sahel heatwave

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The deadly heatwave that hit Africa's Sahel region in early April would not have occurred without “human-induced” climate change, according to a World Weather Attribution (WWA) report released today.

The West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso experienced a very intense heatwave from April 1 to 5 with temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius and causing a large number of deaths.

Observations and climate models used by WWA researchers showed that “heatwaves of the intensity of those in March and April 2024 in the region would be impossible without global warming of 1.2 degrees Celsius to date', which is linked to 'anthropogenic climate change'.

While hot spells are common in the Sahel at this time, the report says April's heatwave would have been 1.4 degrees Celsius milder “if humans had not warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels.” >”.

The report adds that an episode like the one that hit the Sahel over five days in April is seen once every 200 years, but that “these trends will continue with future warming”.


The duration and severity of the extreme heat led to an increase in the number of deaths and hospitalizations in the two aforementioned countries despite the fact that their populations are accustomed to high temperatures, the organization points out.

The lack of data in affected countries makes it impossible to know the exact number of deaths, WWA points out, adding that the extreme heat-related deaths are likely to be in the hundreds, if not thousands.

Countries in the Sahel region they have had to deal with drought since the ’70s, as well as periods of heavy rainfall since the ’90s.

Source: 24h.com.cy

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