Published: 2022-11-17 10:29
Last Updated: 2023-03-28 05:07
Heavy rains behind floods that killed over 600 people in Nigeria this year were about 80 times likelier because of human-induced climate change, scientists reported Wednesday.
The floods mainly struck Nigeria but also Niger, Chad and neighboring countries, displacing over 1.4 million people and devastating homes and farmland in a region already vulnerable to food insecurity.
Researchers from the World Weather Attribution (WWA) consortium said in a study that the floods -- among the deadliest on record in the region -- were directly linked to human activity that is exacerbating climate change.
They matched long-term data on climate -- which shows the planet has warmed by about 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1800 as carbon emissions have risen -- against weather events.
The heavy rainfall that sparked the floods was 80 times likelier because of "human-caused climate change," according to their findings.
In addition, "this year's rainy season was 20 percent wetter than it would have been without the influence of climate change," they said.
"The influence of climate change means the prolonged rain that led to the floods is no longer a rare event," the study found.
"The above-average rain over the wet season now has approximately a one in 10 chance of happening each year; without human activities it would have been an extremely rare event."
Over 600 people were killed in Nigeria alone because of the floods from June to October this year, and nearly 200 in Niger and 22 in Chad.