South Africa: Summer in South Africa, Heatwaves and the Very Real Effects of Climate Crisis

analysis

July 2019 was officially 'the hottest month on record, since record-keeping began 140 years ago', said the World Meteorological Organisation, with 'record heat moving towards the Arctic'.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the average global temperature for July 2019 was 0.95°C hotter than the 20th-century average; this statement, which followed another record - June 2019 as the hottest June ever documented - brings the past five years to a record high for temperatures.

The previous record temperature was in July 2016, when El Niño - "a complex weather pattern" born from variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific - brought warmer than average temperatures in North America.

Closer to home, the Department of Environment in May 2019 released a draft report titled Draft national climate change adaptation strategy. In it, the department notes: "There is evidence that extreme weather events in South Africa are increasing, with heatwave conditions found to be more likely, dry spell durations lengthening slightly and rainfall intensity increasing.

"Climate zones across the country are already shifting, ecosystems and landscapes are being degraded, veld fires are becoming more frequent, and overused natural terrestrial and marine systems are under stress."

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