oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - South Africa's changing climate : review article

Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



South Africa's weather records over the past six decades indicate that the region's climate is shifting. This is evident in small but statistically significant temperature increases in the past half-century. Changes in rainfall patterns are less clear. Nevertheless, responses from the natural environment confirm that conditions are changing, and that these reflect trends elsewhere in the world.

Increases in temperature will continue across the country in the next century, but with regional differences: coastal areas may warm by 3-4°C, and the interior by 6-7°C. Rainfall patterns will become less predictable in parts, with overall drying conditions in some areas and wetting in other areas; fire conditions will increase in some areas; natural extreme weather events and cycles such as droughts, floods and heatwaves will be amplified in both severity and frequency.
The pressures associated with climatic shifts are anticipated to exacerbate existing environmental, social, developmental and economic vulnerabilities and may roll back many of the advances made in terms of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
This article discusses anticipated climatic shifts across the region over the next half-century, and highlights the likely impacts for South Africa's vegetation, landscape and communities, both urban and rural.

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