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Combating Climate Change in Zimbabwe

Some years ago a friend of mine, Professor Euan Nisbet, was working on atmospheric science in the UK but comes from Mberengwa in Zimbabwe; he wrote to me and warned that Zimbabwe was likely to be one of the most affected countries in the world by climate changes caused by rising temperatures. He later said that it looked as if the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) would shift northwards.

This year we have had an exceptional El Nino with high sea temperatures in the northern Pacific Ocean and we have watched as week after week the rains have stubbornly refused to move south, staying just above Lusaka in Zambia. High pressures over Madagascar have also affected our weather and often when I Googled southern Africa, Zimbabwe and South Africa were clear of any cloud cover.

The consequences are now clear. South Africa and Zimbabwe both have a 70 to 80 per cent failure of our annual crops. The region will have to import 22 to 24 million tonnes of grain and millions require help with their most basic needs – water and food. If this is not just another periodic drought then we have to start thinking about how to manage and mitigate the effects.


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