Temperatures over the interior regions of southern Africa are projected to rise at about twice the global rate of temperature increase between 2046 and 2060.
Six different studies predict temperature increases of between three and six degrees for the southern Africa interior for the period 2080 to 2100.
Namibia stands central in this threatening scenario as temperature increases of between one and 3.5 degrees Celsius in summer and between one and for degrees in winter is expected between 2046 and 2060, says Dr Mutinde Katjiua from the Department of Land and Property Science of the Namibia University of Science and Technology.
He says – based on six different international studies – Namibia’s average temperatures have increased by between one and 1.2 degrees in the last 50 years.
He also expresses his concern about all the studies projecting southern Africa to become generally drier under climate change.
According to projections, increased rainfall is plausible over the eastern interior of southern Africa while a robust signal of drying is projected for the southwestern Cape in South Africa.
Closer to home, a significant decrease in the number of consecutive wet days is projected for Namibia with obvious increased risk for crop losses and for annual grass species dominating rangelands. At the same time, increased rainfall intensity is expected which will result in massive run-off, late summer rainfall and reduced winter rainfall in the south.
This is projected to occur, while reduction in land suitable for rain-fed agriculture and crop production is also expected by 2080.
He says arid and semi-arid lands are expected to expand by between five and eight percent by 2100 and huge negative impacts are expected for the livestock industry. Recent droughts and dry spells have already resulted in panic sales by Namibian livestock farmers, livestock deaths, increases in production prices and reduced assets and savings.
He also notes that government now has to spend N$910 million on drought aid relief to 600 000 people, while in 2013 it had to fork out N$80 million to assist 418 000 drought-affected people.
“Projected Namibian GDP under three climate change impact scenarios for the period 2007 to 2050, suggest that annually up to six percent of GDP could be lost,” he stated.