Siz­zling or cold, sci­ence is at work

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

AS WIN­TER takes hold over large parts of South Africa, the gov­ern­ment has ap­pealed to South Africans to keep warm as a cold weather pat­tern un­folds in the com­ing days.

Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Edna Molewa made the ap­peal yes­ter­day as the South African Weather Ser­vice (SAWS) con­firmed that a cold front was ex­pected to ar­rive over the Western Cape.

This was to re­sult in sig­nif­i­cant tem­per­a­ture drops in most parts of the coun­try from yes­ter­day.

The SAWS warned that as the cold front ar­rived in the Western Cape, lo­calised flood­ing may oc­cur in places in the Cape metro, Over­berg and the Cape Winelands.

“In light of the sev­ereweather warn­ing for the com­ing days, I would like to ap­peal to all those peo­ple liv­ing in low-ly­ing ar­eas of the Western Cape to pre­pare for pos­si­ble flood­ing, and to all other ci­ti­zens to un­pack their jer­seys and blan­kets to keep warm,” said Molewa.

The abil­ity of the SAWS to pre­dict ex­treme weather con­di­tions, thus im­prov­ing the abil­ity of emer­gency ser­vices and the pub­lic to pre­pare timeously to ex­pected in­clement weather, is the re­sult of the col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs (DEA) and the Weather Ser­vice in de­vel­op­ing the Na­tional Frame­work for Cli­mate Ser­vices.

The Frame­work aims to co-or­di­nate and of­fer sci­ence-based in­for­ma­tion, weather fore­casts, cli­mate pre­dic­tions and cli­mate pro­jec­tions that can em­power de­ci­sion-mak­ers to man­age the risks and op­por­tu­ni­ties of cli­mate vari­abil­ity and change.

The DEA, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the prov­inces, has just con­cluded a risk and vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ment on cli­mate change in all nine prov­inces and associated re­sponse plans.

Im­ple­men­ta­tion of re­sponse plans is un­der way across the prov­inces.

“Long-term adap­ta­tion sce­nar­ios con­ducted by the DEA show that cli­mate change im­pacts on South Africa are likely to be felt pri­mar­ily through ef­fects on wa­ter re­sources. “Pro­jected im­pacts are due to changes in rain­fall and evap­o­ra­tion rate, but hy­dro­log­i­cal mod­el­ling ap­proaches are es­sen­tial for trans­lat­ing these into po­ten­tial wa­ter re­source im­pacts,” Molewa said in a statement yes­ter­day.

Fu­ture cli­mate sce­nar­ios for south­ern Africa project a higher fre­quency of flood­ing and drought ex­tremes.

The range of ex­tremes is sig­nif­i­cantly worse un­der the global emis­sions sce­nario that shows no global green­house gas emis­sion re­duc­tions.

Un­der a wet­ter fu­ture cli­mate sce­nario, sig­nif­i­cant in­creases in run-off would re­sult in in­creased flood­ing, hu­man health risks, ecosys­tem dis­tur­bance and aes­thetic im­pacts.

Drier fu­ture cli­mate sce­nar­ios would re­sult in re­duced sur­face wa­ter avail­abil­ity.

How­ever, this would not ex­clude the risk of ex­treme flood­ing events.

The DEA is work­ing to­wards the devel­op­ment of a na­tional adap­ta­tion strat­egy.

This was aimed, Molewa said, at re­duc­ing the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of so­ci­ety, the econ­omy and the en­vi­ron­ment to the ef­fects of cli­mate change, strength­en­ing re­silience of the so­cio-eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal sys­tem and en­hanc­ing South Africa’s ca­pac­ity to adapt to the im­pacts of cli­mate change.

Gov­ern­ment has ap­pealed to South Africans to keep warm

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