Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Impact Of Climate Change In Africa

Date:
November 27, 2006
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
Africa is the continent that will suffer most under global warming. Past history gives us lessons on the likely effects of future climate change. Of greatest concern are the "large infrequent disturbances" to the climate as these will have the most devastating effects. In a study from the Kenyan Tsavo National Park published today in the African Journal of Ecology, Dr. Lindsey Gillson uncovers evidence for a drought that coincided with a harrowing period of Maasai history.

Africa is the continent that will suffer most under global warming. Past history gives us lessons on the likely effects of future climate change. Of greatest concern are the 'large infrequent disturbances' to the climate as these will have the most devastating effects. In a remarkable study from the Kenyan Tsavo National Park published today in the African Journal of Ecology, Dr Lindsey Gillson uncovers evidence for a drought that coincided with the harrowing period of Maasai history at the end of the 19th century termed "Emutai" meaning to wipe out.

"Severe disturbance events and rapid environmental change tend to occur infrequently, but can have a lasting effect on both environment and society" says Dr Gillson. This was no-where more evident than in the case of the Maasai "Emutai". The period 1883-1902 was marked by epidemics of bovine pleuropneumonia, rinderpest and small pox. The rains failed completely in 1897 and 1898. The Austrian explorer Dr Oscar Baumann, who travelled in Maasailand in 1891, wrote chilling eye-witness accounts of the horror experienced during a large ecological disturbance:

"There were women wasted to skeletons from whose eyes the madness of starvation glared ... warriors scarcely able to crawl on all fours, and apathetic, languishing elders. Swarms of vultures followed them from high, awaiting their certain victims." (Baumann 1894, Masailand)

Ecological shocks such as that experienced by the Maasai are predicted to be a feature of global warming. "It is important to use long-term historical and palaeoecological data to try to understand the frequency and effects of extreme events, and the way societies and ecosystems respond to them" Lindsey Gillson explains. Her work involved analysing sediments from the famous Tsavo National Park. Age of the sediments was obtained using radiocarbon dating and analysis of the pollen and charcoal fragments enabled a picture of environmental changes to be built up. "It is painstaking work, but the results were clear" says Dr Gillson "at the time of the Emutai there was a drought, an increase in burning and soil erosion: indicators of a large infrequent disturbance".

Dr Jon Lovett, who has been researching the impacts of climate change on Africa, says that we must learn from history and be prepared "Events like this are going to become more common in the future, and we need to be ready for them" he says. "Lindsey's work is important because it shows what has happened in the past, we are now forewarned. But the big question remains -- will policy makers take any notice?"

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Impact Of Climate Change In Africa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061126115458.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2006, November 27). Impact Of Climate Change In Africa. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061126115458.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Impact Of Climate Change In Africa." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061126115458.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — With Pacific ocean water already showing signs of warming, the NOAA says there's about a 66 percent chance the event will begin before November. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins