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  • by Trevor Loveday

Study shows "climate flips" whipping up chaos across the globe

WaterAid has published research findings that show dramatic reversals in climate characteristics which, for example, “put Northern Italy on the same climate trajectory as parts of Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa, which recently faced its worst drought.”

The study by scientists at Cardiff and Bristol Universities, according to WaterAid shows “millions of people around the world living in poverty, have been experiencing a 'climate hazard flip' since the turn of the century.”

The charity said this “whiplash” of extreme climate pressure is leading to “areas that used to experience frequent droughts are now more prone to frequent flooding, while other regions historically prone to flooding now endure more frequent droughts.”

Examples include areas in Pakistan, Burkina Faso and Northern Ghana – normally associated with hotter, drier conditions - have become increasingly wetter and flood-prone over the past 20 years.

The researchers have looked at the frequency and magnitude of flooding and drought hazards over the last 41 years in six countries where WaterAid works: Pakistan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mozambique with there addition of Italy “for a European comparison to address the fact that the impacts of climate change do not discriminate by region.”

WaterAid warned that failure to act on climate adaptation at COP28 – which convenes in Dubai in in two weeks' time – “could condemn people in the worst affected areas to entrenched poverty, displacement, disease and potentially even conflict, as issues leading to water and food scarcity are made worse by catastrophic and changeable climatic extremes.”


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