Mayotte - Climate
The climate of Mayotte is of the "humid tropical" type (annual average of 25.6 ° C) with two seasons. A warm season or a rainy season, from November to April, during which the monsoon from the north waters the island. The temperatures are high (27 to 30 °) and the humidity is very high. 80% of the rainfall occurs during this period. It is also the season of cyclones and tropical depressions, even if Mayotte is little exposed to cyclone risk.
A dry season, from May to October, during the austral winter. The trade winds coming from the south-east cool the atmosphere (20 to 25 °), the humidity is less important, and the rain becomes scarce.
Climate models, the main tool for creating projections of future climate change, are typically at a resolution which is not refined enough to allow small islands to be resolved. This means that within a climate model, the ‘grid box’ or ‘cell’ where a small island should be located will typically appear as ocean rather than land.
Mayotte has a strong seasonal irregularity of rains with 75% precipitation occurring in the summer. In addition to varying seasonal precipitation and resulting water resources, Mayotte also suffers from disproportionate geographical distribution of rainfall. The northeastern and southern areas of the island are richer in water whereas most of the population is concentrated in other regions. Another climate change impact of concern is sea level rise. Between 1993 and 2011, a 3 to 5 mm per year increase in sea level has been observed. Flooding due to sea level rise has already occurred and will continue to damage Mayotte’s ecosystems and infrastructure. Rising sea levels also will damage beaches and threaten Mayotte’s flora and fauna.
Mayotte’s steep slopes and heavy precipitation patterns result in high levels of soil erosion. Human activities, especially extensive coastal deforestation, expedite the soil erosion process. Additionally, the periods of drought that alternate with aggressive rains results in low quality soil further damaging Mayotte’s agricultural prospects. Low quality soil could be further damaged by the expansion of market gardening, which would further deplete organic resources and encourage further erosion.
Similar to La Réunion, the one of the biggest climate change challenges facing Mayotte is the destruction of natural habitats, which needs to be avoided. The western islands of the Indian Ocean and Madagascar consist of one of the 24 globally recognised Conservation International biodiversity hotspots. With approximately 1,000 species of vascular plants observed in an area of 354 km2 in 2005, Mayotte has one of the richest collections of tropical insular fauna as well as incredibly high species density. However, water and inland ecosystems are already being degraded, and changes in climate will only exacerbate this process.
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