Climate Change

There is now strong scientific evidence from both climate observations and model simulations that climate is changing both globally and regionally. According to IPCC (2013), global temperatures averaged over all land and ocean areas have risen by approximately 0.85 °C from 1880 to 2012. This has mainly been attributed to increasing emission and concentration of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) especially Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere attributed to anthropogenic activities. GHGs absorb and re-emit the earth’s out-going long wave radiation back to the earth’s surface. The net effect of this process is alteration of the earth’s energy budget leading to a net global warming and ultimately increase in surface temperatures. The increased energy in the atmosphere has systematically altered the nature of the drivers of the climate system at various scales and accelerated climate change.

Chirps_rainfall_spatial_trend_GHA obeserved-tempreature-trends-extremes-GHA
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Linear trends in observed seasonal rainfall for the period 1981-2015 bases on CHIRPS data (5km) the over Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region. Red (blue) color means decreasing (increasing) rainfall and stippling (dots) indicates areas where the trend is statistically significant at the 5% confidence level based on Student's t test.

Climate change adaptation involves measures taken to manage the inevitable impacts of climate change that mitigation cannot reduce. Effective adaptation actions can bring benefits both today and in the future. Adaptation aims to manage climate risk to an acceptable level, taking advantage of any positive opportunities that may arise. Potential adaptation options can be explored based on specific climate impact and / or adaptation sector of interest.
The IGAD region can gain much from adaptation actions such as disaster risk reduction and social protection that reduce impacts of warming already being felt and from building resilience around critical sectors such as water, energy and agriculture.

Climate change mitigationon the other hand, generally involves measures taken to reduce human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), reduce rate of climate change in order to avoid the unmanageable impacts of climate change. Examples of mitigation include switching to low-carbon energy sources, such as renewable and nuclear energy, and expanding forests and other "sinks" to remove greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Energy efficiency can also play a major role, for example, through improving the insulation of buildings. Another approach to climate change mitigation is geo-engineering. The major concern is to stabilize GHG concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent (unmanageable impacts) and reduce (manageable impacts) the negative impacts of climate change. It is noteworthy that some climate change impacts can be beneficial but overall, the negative impacts will outweigh the positive impacts.

Climate change adaptationinvolves measures taken to manage the inevitable impacts of climate change that mitigation cannot reduce. Effective adaptation actions can bring benefits both today and in the future. Adaptation aims to manage climate risk to an acceptable level, taking advantage of any positive opportunities that may arise. Potential adaptation options can be explored based on specific climate impact and / or adaptation sector of interest.

A changing and variable climate presents major threats to the stability of socio-economic systems in the region due to the pressure imposed on the available natural resources, effects on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the frequency and severity of climate extreme events and their subsequent impact on human security. The IGAD countries lie within the tropics; hence exposed to tropical climate that is often characterised by a number of natural phenomena. The region is predominantly covered by arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) (60-70%) and is affected by prolonged droughts and unpredictable rainfall patterns of less than 400 mm annually (Babikir et al., 2015). For instance, Djibouti is characterized by a semi-desert tropical climate with extended periods of drought and recurring natural catastrophes. More than 80% of the landmass in Kenya and Sudan is categorized as ASAL and Somalia is generally arid and semi-arid with two rainfall seasons. Moreover, the recurrent and protracted conflicts in the region are often linked to scarcity and competition over natural resources (Babikir et al., 2015).