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Sierra Leone - Climate Change

Sierra Leone has been ranked as the third most vulnerable nation after Bangladesh and Guinea Bissau to adverse effects of climate change. The vulnerable population has low capacity to adapt to climate change and the rural populations will be the most affected because of their high dependence on rain-fed agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods. According to the science of climate change, these impacts are likely to continue to affect Sierra Leone in the future, despite the country being least responsible for the problem since Sierra Leones contribution to global emissions of greenhouse gases is negligible.

Mudslides, flash floods, changing rainfall patterns with terrible impact on farmers resulting in poor food production is already here. According to analyses done in 2012 for the development of Sierra Leones Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, climate change will lead to severe consequences in Sierra Leone including: decreased agricultural productivity, degradation of the coastline and damage to coastal structures, a shift from tropical rain forest to dry forest, food and nutrition insecurity, water stress and severe economic impacts that will undermine decades of development gains.

Sierra Leone has developed many adaptation projects to address adverse effects of climate change based on existing coping mechanisms and practices such as Develop and enact appropriate policies and regulations relevant to the development of coastal communities, urban growth planning, and critical coastal ecosystems preservation and the Establishment of a National Sea- Level Observing System for Sierra Leone.

Climate Change is known to have adversely affected the environment, Agriculture, Food Security, and even the lives and livelihood of large communities. Fishermen are known to have lost their lives in storms and passenger boats have encountered weather-related accidents even though some go unreported Flooding is known to have affected agriculture and habitats of people in Sierra Leone and their suffering aggravated by the attending health problems of water-borne diseases (typhoid dysentery cholera and diarrhea) due to lack of safe drinking water.

Sierra Leone is particularly vulnerable to the increasing frequency and severity of droughts, floods and severe storms (hail, thunder, lightning and violent winds), and their impacts on sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, water resources, as well as infrastructure and hydro-electric power production. Such climate-related hazards are having increasingly adverse effects on the country and future climate change is likely to further exacerbate the situation.

Sierra Leone is particularly exposed to the impact of rainfall variability of and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heat waves and heavy precipitation events. Heavy rainfall following dry spells often results in extensive flooding throughout the country. The effects of these unusual temperature and rainfall patterns on agriculture, water supply and sanitation are evident in various parts of Sierra Leone. The risks on food security of strictly rain-fed rice cultivation cannot be overlooked.

Shifting rainfall patterns have caused disruptions of planting seasons resulting in diminished agricultural production and poverty amongst farmers in particular. Sierra Leone is particularly exposed to the impact of rainfall variability of and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heat waves and heavy precipitation events. Heavy rainfall following dry spells often results in extensive flooding throughout the country.

The effects of these unusual temperature and rainfall patterns on agriculture, water supply and sanitation are evident in various parts of Sierra Leone. The risks on food security of strictly rain-fed rice cultivation cannot be overlooked. Shifting rainfall patterns have caused disruptions of planting seasons resulting in diminished agricultural production and poverty among farmers in particular.

In tropical Africa, much of the seasonal rain comes from thunderstorms and often these cluster together, creating mesoscale convective systems (MCS). In simple terms, these are arcs of giant thunderstorms that can cover half a country. The systems grow and and move to the west, usually leaving West Africa trough Guinea or Sierra Leone. (Tellingly they are the start of most Atlantic hurricanes.) You may be surprised to hear that African thunderstorms are among the most intense on earth. That finding came from a scientific paper published in 2006, a study using a worldwide database. A more recent investigation has found that the number of these storms has increased in sub-Saharan Africa, by a factor of three, since 1982.

The Sahara Desert has heated up as predicted with a warming globe but the edge of the desert, the Sahel, during the wet season, has not. As a result, the temperature gradient from desert to tropics is now steeper. It is differences in temperature that cause weather they create a reason for air to move. the resulting thunderstorms, grouped as mesoscale convective systems, now have more vigorous construction. They also have the necessary shear in wind direction and strength within the thunderheads to create an efficient up- and downdraught circulation. This increase in the intensity of these major storm systems looks like a result of climate change. The climate forecast sees the Sahara warming more which leads directly to a future of more intense rainfall events, especially in the Sahel. Resultant devastating flooding and landslides will become more common.

During the rainy season, Sierra Leone is one of the wettest places on earth, statistically. The deadly landslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 13 August 2017 was undoubtedly partly the result of deforestation. The United Nations said 18 August 2017 the death toll from mudslides in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown has surpassed 400. Another 600 people remain unaccounted for as workers sought to recover more bodies from the thick mud and debris of smashed homes. Those efforts are hampered by rain, which remained in the forecast in coming days. The mudslide occurred after hours of heavy rains early 13 August 2017, while many Freetown residents were still sleeping. Witnesses described a particularly hard-hit area in the Regent district, saying roads became "churning rivers of mud."





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