Record drought in the Horn of Africa due to global warming, report says

Somali women in a camp for displaced people on January 12, 2023, in Doolow, western Somalia. Getty Images - Giles Clarke

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A report by the World Weather Attribution, an organization that brings together a network of scientists from around the world, estimates that drying soils and lack of rain is only possible because of climate change and human activities.


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The historic drought facing the Horn of Africa is a consequence of human activity. In other words, this climate catastrophe, unprecedented for 40 years, could not have occurred without human emissions of greenhouse gases, says the scientific study published by World Weather Attribution.

According to the 19 scientists who contributed to the report, climate change has had "little effect on the region's recent annual rainfall". But it has strongly influenced rising temperatures, responsible for a skyrocketing increase in evapotranspiration that has led to record drying of soils and plants.

The region has had five seasons of rainfall deficits, and has indeed suffered from the increase in temperatures. Millions of cattle died for lack of water. Farmers, on the other hand, have lost their crops. According to the UN, 22 million people are at risk of hunger in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

The current situation is described as an "exceptional drought", the 4th and last alert level on the American scale. Once unlikely, it now has a 5% chance of reproducing each year.

The Horn of Africa drought wouldn't have happened in a world without human-caused climate change.
The drought began in October 2020 and has left more than 20 million people at risk of acute food insecurity.

📷 : @Ismail__Taxta, @RCClimate

— World Weather Attribution (@WWAttribution) April 27, 2023

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  • Environment
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