Impacts of climate change in Tanzania
Climate implicates changes in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle counts and other meteorological elements in a given region over long periods. Climate describes a normal day-to-day weather pattern, including seasonal extremes and variations for a specific location or region.
Climate is far from static. It has natural year-to-year variations, and extremes in temperatures and weather events have occurred throughout history. But not all changes in climate are due to natural processes. Humans have also exerted an influence. Through building cities, industries and altering patterns of land use. Peoples have changed climate at the local and global scale.
For more than 50 years, the Earth’s climate has been changing because of increasing greenhouse gas (water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and halo-carbons) emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil, as well as deforestation and other human activities such as agriculture and mining.
In my experience working with NGOs about climate change mitigation, Tanzania like other third world countries has started to experience significant climate variability and climate change as shown below,
- Over the past years the climate in regions throughout the country has changed significantly indicating that by the end of the century, average temperatures are projected to increase between 1.90C and 3.60C, while sea level is projected to rise between 65 cm to one meter compared; this increases the severity, duration and frequency of weather related extreme events such as drought and floods, threatening water availability and food security for millions of poor people.
- Rainfall is said to decrease in the dry season and it is expected to increase during the rainy season, leading to a growing risk of floods, water shortage and related conflicts;
- The icecap on Mount Kilimanjaro has been disappearing with serious implications for the rivers that depend on ice melt for their flow. Several rivers are already drying out in the summer season due to depletion in melting water, and recent projections suggest that if the recession continues at its present rate, the ice cap may have disappeared completely by the year 2025;
- Climate change has been the main driver of biodiversity loss, and has already affected biodiversity resources. In the future, some species will not be able to keep up, leading to a sharp increase in extinction rates. This will result to more loss of revenues from tourism due to loss of key species (fauna and flora)
Why we need to keep temperature below 1.5 degrees?
The 1.5℃ targets is designed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Pegging temperature rise at 1.5°C with a high level of probability would involve a reduction in the carbon budget –– the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted in the atmosphere in the future.
NGOs, government and stakeholders have a great role to play by putting in place strategies aiming to reduce human dangerous activities through research, raising awareness, advocacy, mobilization and empowerment of most vulnerable communities to start with.
By Magoti Faustine