Human-Induced Climate Change Increased 2021-2022 Drought Severity in Horn of Africa

45 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2024

See all articles by Joyce Kimutai

Joyce Kimutai

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Clair Barnes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Mariam Zachariah

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Sjoukje Philip

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

Sarah Kew

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

Izidine Pinto

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

Piotr Wolski

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Gerbrand Koren

Utrecht University - Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development

Gabriel Vecchi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Wenchang Yang

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Sihan Li

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Maja Vahlberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Dorothy Heinrich

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Julie Arrighi

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Carolina Pereira Marghidan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Lisa Thalheimer

Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs; University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute (ECI)

Roop Singh

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Cheikh Kane

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Emmanuel Raju

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Friedereke EL Otto

Imperial College London

Abstract

From October 2020 to early 2023, Eastern Africa experienced five consecutive failed rainy seasons, resulting in the worst drought in 40 years. This led to harvest failures, livestock losses, water scarcity, and conflicts, leaving approximately 4.35 million people in need of humanitarian aid. To understand the role of human-induced climate change in the drought, we analysed rainfall trends and the combined effect of rainfall deficit with high temperatures in the Southern Horn of Africa covering parts of southern Ethiopia, southern Somalia, and eastern Kenya. We employed various climate models and observations to assess changes in 24-month rainfall (2021-2022), and seasonal rainfall; both the (March-April-May, MAM) ‘long rains’ and (October-November-December, OND) ‘short rains’ in 2022. We also contextualised the event in terms of vulnerability and exposure to understand how these elements influenced the magnitude of the impacts. Our analysis shows that anthropogenic influence on the combined effects of low rainfall and high evapotranspiration caused by higher temperatures made the drought exceptional, leading to major crop and pasture losses and water shortages. Our results also show a decline in rainfall during MAM and an upward trend during OND, which is attributable to climate change. Despite the wetting trend in OND season, the drought years concluded with successive La Niña conditions, typically linked with below-average rainfall in the region during that season. We do not find a trend in the 24-month precipitation. The assessment on vulnerability and exposure highlights the need for enhanced preparedness of government drought management systems and international aid infrastructure for future severe and prolonged droughts. The study's findings, combined with climate projections that indicate increased heavy precipitation in the region, underscore the pressing necessity for robust adaptation strategies that can address both wet and dry extremes. The impacts of climate change in Eastern Africa necessitate investments in adaptive measures and resilience building that can evolve with emerging climate signals.

Keywords: Climate Change, attribution, Drought, Horn of Africa

Suggested Citation

Kimutai, Joyce and Barnes, Clair and Zachariah, Mariam and Philip, Sjoukje and Kew, Sarah and Pinto, Izidine and Wolski, Piotr and Koren, Gerbrand and Vecchi, Gabriel and Yang, Wenchang and Li, Sihan and Vahlberg, Maja and Heinrich, Dorothy and Arrighi, Julie and Marghidan, Carolina Pereira and Thalheimer, Lisa and Singh, Roop and Kane, Cheikh and Raju, Emmanuel and Otto, Friedereke EL, Human-Induced Climate Change Increased 2021-2022 Drought Severity in Horn of Africa. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4701486 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4701486

Joyce Kimutai (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Clair Barnes

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Mariam Zachariah

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Sjoukje Philip

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute ( email )

Netherlands

Sarah Kew

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute ( email )

Netherlands

Izidine Pinto

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute ( email )

Netherlands

Piotr Wolski

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Gerbrand Koren

Utrecht University - Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development ( email )

Gabriel Vecchi

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Wenchang Yang

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Sihan Li

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Maja Vahlberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Dorothy Heinrich

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Julie Arrighi

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies ( email )

Chemin des Crets 17
Geneva, 1211
Switzerland

Carolina Pereira Marghidan

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Lisa Thalheimer

Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute (ECI) ( email )

South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY
United Kingdom

Roop Singh

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Cheikh Kane

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Emmanuel Raju

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Friedereke EL Otto

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

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