Rapidly rising temperatures in SA pose more risk of wildfires - CSIR

The latest scientific data from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research shows that temperatures in Southern Africa are rising much faster than the global rate.

According to Professor Francois Engelbrecht, this phenomenon has made the region more vulnerable to extreme events such as wildfires.

He explains the science behind the phenomenon.

In winter time we get these very high pressure systems that form over the Southern African region and as a result of climate change those high pressure systems are becoming stronger. They have two main effects, they are gradually shifting the cold fronts toward the pole, which means that we can expect our winter rainfall region will likely become drier.

Professor Francois Engelbrecht, Principal Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Over the last 50 years we have seen systematic increase in temperature across the entire Southern African region. Over the interior parts of the region this increase has been taking place in the order of 2 degrees Celsius per century.

Professor Francois Engelbrecht, Principal Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

It means in general there are more days that are posing a significant risk for the outbreak of wildfires.

Professor Francois Engelbrecht, Principal Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

The general increase in temperature is most certainly directly attributable to global warming which in turn is caused by us as humans because we are emitting so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, he says.

Although these specific fires cannot be directly attributed to climate change we are moving into a new climate system where we are becoming prone to the outbreak of fires.

Professor Francois Engelbrecht, Principal Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Click on the link below to listen to the interview:

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