Sizzling or cold, science is at work
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