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Less Rains Down in Africa

  • By AMS Staff
  • Apr 13, 2023

Less Rains Down in Africa

1.     Somalia
    2.    Sudan
    3.    South Africa
    4.    South Sudan
    5.    Namibia

The five African countries that have experienced the greatest increase in drought conditions since the early 1980s, according to a new report released by the international nongovernmental organization WaterAid. The study combined data on drought trends and population exposure throughout Africa for the years 1983–2021 and found that large portions of the continent are suffering from more frequent and intense drought events. East Africa, Southern Africa, and Central Africa were identified as hot spots, where both the annual number of dry and severely dry months as well as the overall percentage of landmass experiencing drought have increased over the studied period. The five listed countries are all dryland countries that continue to get drier, but the study also found that more humid countries like Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, and Cameroon have been consistently drying over the last 40 years. The study showed that DRC, along with South Africa and Namibia, had a nearly 40% increase of landmass impacted by drought in the last decade, compared to three decades ago. One promising finding in the study is that some of the countries with intensifying drought conditions have simultaneously seen an increase in groundwater storage, which is attributed to more intense rainfall when it does actually rain. Despite the frequent droughts, the heavier rainfall “may lead to more effective groundwater recharge,” notes lead author Katerina Michaelides of the University of Bristol. “Importantly, this sustained water storage under ground could potentially be used for drought mitigation.”

[Source: University of Bristol]