By Adelyn Wangusi
It is bad news for Kenya and countries such as Tanzania,Somalia and others who borders the Indian Ocean.
New evidence from an American University link the frequent drought in the region to the Indian Ocean.
Long considered as a blessing due to the multi-million dollar import and export business opportunities it enables the two to trade with landlocked neighbours, the Indian Ocean could actually be the reason for the region’s losing battle with climate change, according to new evidence by Brown University researchers.
The analysis, described in a new study in Science Advances by an international team of scientists led by researchers from Brown University, compares 10,000 years of past climate conditions reconstructed from different sets of geological records to simulations from an advanced climate model.
This extreme weather pattern, known as a dipole, prompts one side (either east or west of the Indian Ocean) to have higher-than-average rainfall and the other to have a widespread drought.
“We know that in the present-day gradients in the temperature of the Indian Ocean are important to rainfall and drought patterns, especially in East Africa, but it’s been challenging to show that those gradients change on long time-scales and to link them to long-term rainfall and drought patterns on both sides of the Indian Ocean,” said James Russell, a study author and professor of Earth, environmental, and planetary sciences at Brown.
A recent report by ICPAC on the June to September 2022 Forecast season, which contributes 70% of the total annual rainfall for the Region, was forecast to be below normal for at least three countries.
Dr Pamela Kaithuru, the executive Advisor of the African Coalition of Communities Responsive to Climate Change is quoted recently saying the extreme weather conditions in northern Kenya and parts of the horn of Africa present a serious threat to human livelihoods, and in certain situations, they may even be fatal.
Most economic activities in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) are dependent on weather and climate.
According to Dr Kaithuru said Agriculture, water, health, energy, infrastructure, and transportation are just a few of the many climate-sensitive sectors negatively impacted by recurrent shocks that are now being linked to Kenya having a shoreline at the Indian Ocean. To read more about research by Brown University, click here