They recorded a heat wave in the Sahel region of more than 45 degrees, “impossible” without climate change

Nairobi (EFE).- The Sahel and West Africa witnessed an intense heat wave between March and early April, with the temperature reaching more than 45 degrees, killing many, and this would have been “impossible” had it not been for climate change, according to a report issued by the organization published by the network. World Weather Attribution (WWA) this Thursday.

According to the World Water Association, these heatwaves mainly hit Sahel countries, including Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.

Moreover, this type of extreme weather event is among the deadliest, the study added, although many places lack good records of heat-related deaths, so the available numbers are likely to be an underestimate.

102 deaths in Bamako (Mali) between 1 and 4 April

For example, between April 1 and 4, the Gabriel Touré Hospital in Bamako, the capital of Mali, recorded 102 deaths and an increase in hospital admissions, a much higher number compared to the entire month of April 2023, when the health center recorded. 130 deaths over the course of the month.

A farmer contemplates the remains of a deceased cow, in an archive photo. EFI/EPA/Aaron Ofomele

Thus, WWA noted that heat “most likely” played a role in many of the deaths.

Residents of Kayes, eastern Mali, experienced the highest temperature on record: 48.5 degrees on April 3.

Scientists from Mali, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom analyzed the impact of the climate crisis, stressing that “it was impossible for heat waves of the magnitude of those observed in March to occur.” And April 2024 in the region without global warming.

Power outages and the month of Ramadan

Although these are countries whose residents are accustomed to high temperatures, such as Burkina Faso and Mali, the severity of this heat wave, which coincided with a power outage and the month of Ramadan, made it difficult to overcome.

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The World Water Organization stressed that the current climate has risen by 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times (1850-1900) due to human activities.

The NGO combined climate models with observations to verify that “it would have been impossible for heatwaves of the magnitude observed in March and April 2024 to occur in the region without recording global warming of 1.2°C by now.”

“The five-day extreme heat extremes, as rare as those observed in Mali/Burkina Faso, would have been 1.5°C colder and 1.4°C colder in the greater Sahel region if humans had not warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels “. WWA said.

These trends will continue as temperatures rise in the future: in Mali and Burkina Faso, a heat wave like the one observed would be 1 degree warmer in a world 0.8 degrees warmer, 2 degrees warmer since the pre-industrial era.

The analysis also assesses whether the current El Niño weather phenomenon has affected extreme temperatures, concluding that although its contribution was small compared to the climate crisis, it explains approximately 0.2 degrees of the observed heat shift.

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