Paradigm shift needed in addressing climate change, experts say

The current drought ravaging three-quarters of the country is one of the impacts arising from climate change.

A lecturer in the department of Earth and Climate Sciences at the University of Nairobi Prof. Gilbert Ouma says research on changing weather systems shows rainfall distribution through the season has reduced to two to three days of rainstorms.

“Climate change is manifesting itself and the weather patterns have changed,” he said and added, “today the rainfall comes in storms that last two to three days, yet the total amounts are the long-term mean of the expected rainfall in a season.”

The Don who is also a researcher at the Institute of Climate Change Adaptation (ICCA) in the Department of Earth and Climate Sciences is attributing the current drought to five failed rain seasons from 2019 to 2022 that were preceded by storms experienced in 2018.

“The drought is quite severe, but it is a build of reducing rainfall that has lasted fives seasons,” said Prof. Ouma and adds, droughts are becoming frequent, the distribution of the rainfall is changing, and in the end, we may have the same amount of rainfall but it rains in two to three days.”

He adds that the depletion of household resources among the most vulnerable individuals in society could result in a major humanitarian crisis. “It will be a major factor in the people’s capacity to respond, because if we are just going through a drought right now then when the rains come they devastate further it is going to make like more difficult.”

He further warns that going by recent data on changing weather systems, and studies carried out in Turkana county show that most of the dry lands are expected to begin receiving increased amounts of rainfall while high potential areas may begin receiving reduced rainfall amounts.

He is calling for a paradigm shift in development planning through the use of research and scientific data while building the capacity of communities of communities to adapt to the changing climate.

  

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