Study: Climate change is not the cause of drought and famine in Madagascar

Don’t blame climate change for the devastating drought and famine in Madagascar, scientists said in a new analysis on Wednesday.

World Weather Attribution, which conducts real-time studies of extreme weather conditions around the world, looked at the drought, which left Madagascar with 60% of its normal precipitation from July 2019 to June 2021.

The group found no statistically significant footprint of climate change of human origin. Instead, the drought was a random meteorological oddity, that has a chance to occur once every 135 years, the researchers concluded.

“It’s a rare event but it’s within natural variability,” said study co-author Friederike Otto, a climatologist at Imperial College London. “For this kind of low rainfall, climate change is not the main driver. “

In Madagascar, fluctuations in rainfall from high to low are common, Otto said. But famine has another important cause, she said.

“The driver of famine or of food security is very high vulnerability of the populations of the region,” said Otto. “There are shockingly high rates of poverty. “

The team of international scientists relied on an established technique of using computer simulations to determine what would happen in a world without nearly 2.2 degrees (1.2 degrees Celsius) of warming in pre-industrial times. and comparing it to what happened. With this method, scientists found that many extreme weather events were made worse by global warming, including this summer’s heat wave in the US Pacific Northwest and western Canada and deadly flooding in Europe.

The latest study has yet to be peer reviewed.

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Learn more about AP’s climate coverage at http://www.apnews.com/Climate

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Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears

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