Climate Change Fueled Rains Behind Deadly Nigeria Floods, Study Finds


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“The influence of climate change means the prolonged rain that led to the floods is no longer a rare event,”

 

Heavy rains behind
floods that killed more than 600 people in Nigeria this year were about 80
times likelier because of human-induced climate change, scientists reported
Wednesday.

 
The floods mainly
struck Nigeria but also Niger, Chad and neighboring countries, displacing more
than 1.4 million people and devastating homes and farmland in a region already
vulnerable to food insecurity.

 
Researchers from the
World Weather Attribution (WWA) consortium said in a study that the floods,
among the deadliest on record in the region, were directly linked to human
activity that is exacerbating climate change.

 
They matched long-term
data on climate, which shows the planet has warmed by about 1.2 degrees Celsius
since 1800 as carbon emissions have risen, against weather events.

 
The heavy rainfall that
sparked the floods was 80 times more likely because of “human-caused
climate change,” according to their findings.

 
In addition, “this
year’s rainy season was 20% wetter than it would have been without the
influence of climate change,” they said.

 
“The influence of
climate change means the prolonged rain that led to the floods is no longer a
rare event,” the study found.

 
“The above-average
rain over the wet season now has approximately a 1 in 10 chance of happening
each year; without human activities it would have been an extremely rare
event.”

 
More than 600 people
were killed in Nigeria alone because of the floods from June to October this
year, and nearly 200 in Niger and 22 in Chad.

 
The report comes as
COP27 climate talks are under way in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh, where developing
nations are demanding rich polluters pay for climate-change linked calamities.

 
Africa is home to some
of the countries least responsible for carbon emissions but hardest hit by an
onslaught of weather extremes, with the Horn of Africa currently in the grips
of a severe drought.

 
“This is a real
and present problem, and it’s particularly the poorest countries that are
getting hit very hard. So it’s clear that solutions are needed,” Maarten
van Aalst, director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, said at a WWA
press conference.

 
The WWA publishes
rapid-response reports following extreme climate events.

 
Their studies are not
peer-reviewed, a process that can take months, but are widely backed by
scientists.

 
VOA


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