28 February 2018

Cameroon: Managing the Dictates of Climate Change

The Greenhouse gas-induced alterations is being epitomised by excruciating heat followed by persistent torrential rains.

In the past and not so long ago, March was generally known to be the month that ushers in the rainy season. March 15 was even believed to be the exact date for rain to start falling. This, in many occasions came out to be true. But the past years have come to disprove this climatic concept.

The ordinary man found it difficult to describe this sudden change. But scientists, better still, specialists in climatic issues revealed that it was the consequence of global warming.

And the ordinary man continued to ask what this is all about. Global warming, scientists say is a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth's atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants.

Scientists agree that the earth's rising temperatures are fueling longer and hotter heat waves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall, and more powerful hurricanes. In 2015, for example, scientists said that drought in California, United States' worst water shortage in 1,200 years, intensified by 15 to 20 per cent as a result of global warming.

They also said the odds of similar droughts happening in the future had roughly doubled over the past century. And in 2016, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine announced that it is now possible to confidently attribute certain weather events, like some heat waves, directly to climate change. When the rain fell last January 10, many quickly qualified it as delayed Christmas rain which of course was happening for a brief period.

But as time passed by, more rain intensified. And this is happening throughout the national territory. Some days, only light rains are experienced in some areas. The past few days seem to be telling a different story considering the torrential nature of the down pour.

Report from Monatele in Lekie Division of the Centre tells of heavy rain that caused flood overflowing its bound into the council office. The inhabitants of the capital city, Yaounde were on Monday surprised by a storm that preceded very heavy rains causing flood and destruction of houses and cars.

Every day, the sky seems to sound an alarm of imminent rain. Cumulus and nimbus clouds have become so frequent. This dramatic change is occurring after several weeks of excruciating heat in some parts of the country. As these changes continue to occur, farmers in particular are in a state of confusion whether or not to plant their crops.

The most courageous ones have gone ahead with planting while some remain cautious. According to Professor Maurice Tsalefac, a Climatologist in the University of Yaounde, it is better for agriculturalists to stay put.

Ploughing will expose soil nutrients for destruction and consequently lower yield. This will certainly not augur well for Cameroon; agriculture being the country's main stay, contributing about 45 per cent to its GDP.

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