07 July 2017
South Africa prepares its third report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
According to the report, climate change will cause temperatures to rise at twice the global rate in South Africa until the end of the century. Looking at the current trends, average temperatures in South Africa rose by 2 degrees Celsius in the period between 1921 and 2015 and projections are that Southern Africa will continue to warm at the same disproportional rate compared to the rest of the world, reaching an increase of 4 degrees by 2080 – 2099 compared to the global expectation of 2 degrees Celsius. However, if high mitigation strategies are adopted it is projected that the warming can be limited to between 2,5 and 4 degrees Celsius. In addition to overall temperature increase, variability is also set to increase with the total number of very hot days (in excess of 35 degrees Celsius) also set to increase whilst the average number of cold days per year are set to decrease. The net effect will be felt sharply in agriculture as increased temperatures lead to greater transpiration, and hence a greater reliance on irrigation. Whilst increased temperatures may favour certain subtropical fruits, benefits could be off-set by an increased frequency of damaging storms whilst the decrease in cold winter days could affect pome fruits.
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