Environmental News from South Africa:
Global warming made the heavy rains behind South Africa’s devastating floods last month twice as likely as they would have been if greenhouse gas emissions had never heated the planet, scientists said on Friday.
Flash floods around the east coast city of Durban killed 435 people, left tens of thousands homeless, and caused 10 billion rands ($621.73 million) worth of damage to roads, power lines, water pipes, and one of Africa’s busiest ports.
The World Weather Attribution group analyzed weather data and digital simulations to compare today’s climate to that of before the industrial revolution in the late 1800s when the world was about 1.2°C cooler.
“The results showed that an extreme rainfall episode such as this one can now be expected to happen about once every 20 years,” a report on the study said.
“Without human-caused global warming, such an event would only happen once every 40 years, so it has become about twice as common as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.”
It added that when extreme downpours do happen, they can be expected to be 4-8% heavier than if no human-induced global warming had occurred.
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