It’s official: the weather is going to get weirder. Data compiled by the SA Weather Service shows that our regional climate has already changed and is becoming warmer and more extreme since 1960- which is when we started recording our weather.
This is what they found:
• An overall decrease in the number of frost nights in SA
• An average 0.5 degree increase in temperature
• A marked increase in the number of extreme rainfall seasons (wet and dry)
Latest cost estimates for the flooding in SA are around R580 million (Cape Times, 21 Jan 2010) And, SA is expecting even more rains over the coming months. Although scientists are unable to directly link the floods to climate change, scientists are warning that we need to adapt fast to unpredictable weather here in SA. The National Disaster Management Centre has warned that more extreme weather is expected over the coming months. Read more here
I found this interesting summary about the recent floods happening in SA, Australia, Brazil and Sri Lanka which shows the devastation these floods have casued over the past few months on iafricanews
Area affected: Following floods and heavy storms, 33 municipalities in eight of South Africa’s nine provinces were declared disaster areas.
Death toll: At least 123 people have been killed (88 in KwaZulu-Natal alone).
Number displaced: Roughly 20 000.
Infrastructure damage: The government has warned that the floods may have caused as much as R160-billion worth of infrastructure damage. Preliminary estimates placed crop damage at R1-billion ($145-million) and property damage at R368-million ($52-million). At least 20 000 hectares of agricultural land have been affected. The government will not compensate farmers.
Cost: Thus far, flood damage – excluding the abovementioned infrastructure damage – has been estimated at R356-million ($51-million).
Area affected: Floods swamped an area larger than France and Germany combined in Queensland, including the capital city Brisbane. These floods were followed by floods in Victoria and flash floods in the city of Toowoomba.
Death toll: 22 dead in Queensland (35 dead since the flooding began in late November).
Number displaced: The flooding is estimated to have affected 3.1 million people across Australia. At least 70 towns were directly affected. Three quarters of the state of Queensland was declared a disaster area.
Infrastructure damage: Damage was initially estimated at around AUS$1-billion. More than 6000 sheep were washed away during the flood and 41 hectares of crops were damaged, costing the agriculture sector as much as AUS$2-billion (very close to $2-billion) in lost production and damaged infrastructure.
Cost: In Queensland alone, the cost of recovering from the floods is estimated at up to $20-billion. The estimated reduction in Australia’s GDP is roughly AUS$30-billion.
Area affected: Described as the “worst natural disaster in Brazilian history”, flooding and massive landslides wiped out entire neighbourhoods in Nova Friburgo (near Rio de Janeiro) and in Brazil’s southern Santa Catarina state. A state of emergency was declared in 33 cities.
Death toll: At least 812 dead, with 417 missing.
Number displaced: More than 30 000 people were left homeless.
Infrastructure damage: Although Brazil’s main export crops – soy, sugar cane, oranges, and coffee – were not badly affected by the floods, the infrastructure damage was still considerable.
Cost: Rebuilding is expected to cost at least $1.2-billion. Reconstruction of the city of Teresopolis alone is expected to exceed $298-million.
Area affected: Monsoon flooding and mudslides hit the island’s northern, central and eastern regions.
Death toll: At least 68 dead and 26 missing.
Number displaced: More than one million people were temporarily displaced by the floods and landslides.
Infrastructure damage: 50 500 hectares of paddy land – used to grow rice – have been devastated by the floods. The Sri Lankan government warned that this damage could result in soaring food prices.
Cost: The cost of the damage caused by the floods could amount to $500-million.