Repeated drought in East Africa is inevitable

Repeated drought in East Africa is inevitable

Picture of rainfall over East Africa changed so that severe droughts have become more likely, and this means that you need to review the principles of providing assistance to the region.

One of the poorest parts of the world have already experienced its worst drought in 60 years — in 2010-2011. In a report released last week, the organization Oxfam and "Save the Children" argue that the international community slow to help, and this has led to thousands of deaths that could have been avoided. Despite predictions of an impending drought, many donors are reluctant to act until the crisis has not received much attention of the media,

There is in it, and the economic factor. "To assist, before people start to starve, cheaper" — said Chelis Makdonug, senior spokesman for the World Food Programme for the region. However, no savings are not enough to stave off hunger when drought will come back again and again, as predicted by the researchers.

Last year's attack was the fact that from October to December of 2010, here you omit both the rainy season. And the reason — in La Nine, cooling surface waters in the eastern Pacific. Why not take place "long rains" between March and May, still unclear.

Bradfield Lyon and David DeWitt, Columbia University (USA) examined the statistics of showers and found that since 1999, significantly increased the likelihood of "failure." That year was marked by a sharp increase in the surface temperature of the western tropical Pacific, while further east ocean cooled.

Mr. Lyon said that the change in temperature resulted in the transformation of the atmospheric circulation, cutting off the supply of water to the east of Africa. In 2010, the report of the U.S. Geological Survey suggested that a similar mechanism. "This does not bode well for the rainy season" — sums up the expert.

The main question is whether the change in temperature reflects the Pacific natural climate variability (in this case a few years everything will go back to normal) — or a weak monsoon is the result of human activity (ie, the climate has changed for decades, if not centuries).

The answer may appear at the end of this year, when researchers at the Met Office, the UK will publish the results of research on the causes of drought-2011. They work with two sets of climate models that take into account and do not consider the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions by mankind.

If it appears that climate change is making extreme weather events more likely, it is important to help residents cope with the drought — for example, creating irrigation systems, emphasizes Grainne Moloney, chief technical adviser of the Food and Agriculture of the UN in Somalia. Now make it difficult, because the funds in short-and long-term care are the responsibility of different organizations. Without integration woes not escape.

Dmitry Tselikov

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