The Horn of Africa is experiencing its longest drought in 70 years. Usually, the Horn of Africa has two rainy seasons per year, one from March to May, and another from October to December. For five rainy seasons in a row, the rains have failed. This information comes from NASA who provides satellite imagery and climate, weather, and hydrologic data to the Famine Early Warning Systems network (FEWS NET) which is a collaboration between several organizations designed to monitor drought and flooding in Africa in order to identify problems in the food supply..
A combination of human-induced warming, Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures, and La Niña have contributed to five dry rainy seasons in a row, which is unprecedented in the 70-year precipitation record analyzed by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Santa Barbara. FEWS NET has called the rainfall totals for the most recent October through December period "grim" in a recent statement. Millions of people in the region, which encompasses much of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, are experiencing widespread severe food scarcity and starvation. It has also pushed Somalia to the brink of famine.
Relentless drought and high food prices have undercut many people’s ability to grow crops, raise livestock, and buy food. The situation in the Horn of Africa is compounded by political instability, and has led to 36.4 million people suffering from hunger across the region, and 21.7 million requiring food assistance. Although a famine has yet to be officially declared, it is projected that it will occur this year when the continued effects of La Nina are expected to cause the failure of the spring rainy season.
Humanitarian aid, has already been provided but there are appeals for increased support as Africa faces at least in part a climate induced disaster. Climate scientists are predicting almost a 48% chance that in the next 4 years an El Nino we will push the global average temperature beyond the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming goal for the first time. The 1.5 degree target has been a target (but hardly more) since the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Last spring when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, released their sixth report the scientists found that: There is already a 1.5 degree Celsius of warming baked into the future by past greenhouse gas emissions no matter how much countries cut emissions now. We are past the point where we can try to stop or reverse climate change and hope the climate will return to what it had been. It is a couple of decades too late for that. We now need to plan and prepare for the future we will actually have.
Increases in frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves and heavy rain are occurring across all continents and all oceans. There will be droughts. There will be floods. There will be famine. Climate change is affecting nature, people’s lives and infrastructure everywhere on earth. Our world is warming, the climate changing and extreme events are increasingly impacting nature and people's lives.
According to the IPCC, about half of the world’s population currently experiences severe water shortages at some point during the year, in part due to climate change.