T Nation

Africa Surpasses U.S. In Climatology?

Global Warming Causing African Floods, Experts Say

Uganda declared a state of emergency in September after at least 400,000 people were left homeless and hungry by torrential rains and floods in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

The floods were of little surprise to scientists studying the effects of global warming here, said Philip Gwage, Uganda’s deputy commissioner of meteorology. “We certainly expected the increased frequency of floods and droughts,” he said.

Nonetheless many people in Uganda, and most other African countries, were unprepared for these severe events, he said.

Akumu, of Climate Network Africa, said key crops may ultimately be wiped out and the food supply seriously threatened if such extreme weather continues.

She added that Africa’s “carbon footprint”- the total amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouses emitted on the continent-is far smaller than that of other continents, and she blamed industrialized countries for Africa’s current rainy disaster.

“Africa is suffering because of the actions of the others, the principal emitters of greenhouse gases,” Akumu said.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/10/071029-africa-warming_2.html

First of all, if the floods “were of little surprise” to the Deputy Commissioner of Meteorology, why were so few Ugandans prepared? Seriously, four months of flash flooding over a relatively non-industrialized continent displaces 1.5 million and kills 300+ while fires burn one of the most industrialized and populous states on any continent, displacing nearly the same number of people in less than a week, killing seven. And the problem is too much industrialization? Twenty years of flooding haven’t killed that many Americans.

Second, with a little less than a month to go, we are shooting Eagles for the NOAA’s hurricane forecast for both the Pacific and Atlantic. Given the abysmal predictive capabilities of the NOAA for what is a relatively small subcomponent of “climate” for the last several years. One has to wonder how climatologists in Africa (the least monitored continental climate on Earth) can claim to be witnessing effects of global warming. Even the IPCC isn’t sensitive to these effects for several decades. Especially interesting is that these floods and “climate catastrophes” are just as bad now as forty years ago (and we’ll just ignore the fact that if you added all the “climate catastrophes” together they couldn’t hold a candle to Darfur).

How can anyone help but be a skeptic?

Well, the floods were of little surprise, yet a lot of citizens were unprepared in New Orleans. But perhaps you expect Uganda to be better organised than the US.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:

Well, the floods were of little surprise, yet a lot of citizens were unprepared in New Orleans. But perhaps you expect Uganda to be better organised than the US.[/quote]

On August 1st, 2005 you knew Hurricane Katrina was going to break the levees? Or are you one of the armchair wannabes that says, four days before landfall, “I don’t think anyone can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not. Uhh, but its obviously of very very grave concern.” At which point we would’ve had to beam people out to achieve seven casualties.

Are you comparing a hurricane, a flood, and five decades of government inertia to seasonal floods? Seems to me that the two scenarios aren’t equivalent and that if the levees were the latest in industrial technology the disaster wouldn’t have happened. Does Uganda even have levees to not maintain so that we could even hypothesize an analogous scenario?

BTW- What’s the ratio of dollars from Africa to the US after Katrina vs. the dollars from the US to Africa after these floods? Or at any point in the last century for that matter?

My question was: Do you expect Uganda to be better organised than the US?

The floods were of little surprise to scientists studying the effects of global warming here, said Philip Gwage, Uganda’s deputy commissioner of meteorology. “We certainly expected the increased frequency of floods and droughts,” he said.

From this you concluded that the Africans had a better chance on predicting the floods than the US?

I guess your answer to my question is: “yes, I did expect Uganda to be better organised than the US.”

[quote]Wreckless wrote:

My question was: Do you expect Uganda to be better organised than the US?

The floods were of little surprise to scientists studying the effects of global warming here, said Philip Gwage, Uganda’s deputy commissioner of meteorology. “We certainly expected the increased frequency of floods and droughts,” he said.

From this you concluded that the Africans had a better chance on predicting the floods than the US?

I guess your answer to my question is: “yes, I did expect Uganda to be better organised than the US.”[/quote]

Will/Should they refuse aid that isn’t carbon neutral? Is it wrong to provide aid that isn’t? If nature floods a field is it more ecologically correct to turn it back into a field or to leave it the way nature intended? Even if leaving as a flooplane makes it a poorer carbon sink? So many challenging economic and “carbon ethics” questions to ask and you choose to focus on the sarcastic writing device I used.

Most sensible people would know I didn’t expect them to be better organized than any industrialized nation. What was surprising that I thought I’d share was that I didn’t expect them to have such heightened perception to climate either. Nor did I expect them to vicariously blame the industrialization and technology that has saved and will continue to save so many of them.

Having answered your question; Do you believe the data supports the conclusion (please indicate a level of confidence) that the flooding going on in Africa is even partially ascribable to non-African industrialization (please provide a proportion)? If yes, please provide support. If no, please explain Climate Network Africa’s stance.

Let me turn the tables on you.

You feel skeptic. Can you provide support for your feeling?

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
Let me turn the tables on you.

You feel skeptic. Can you provide support for your feeling?[/quote]

I don’t know if it’s your poor English, a lack of understanding, or if you’re trying to create some false association. Skepticism is a state of being, not a feeling, much like I don’t feel blue-eyed, liberal/conservative, or literate.

I would hope that feelings don’t instigate people to believe or not believe. Unfortunately, I’m a skeptic.