Climate Change in Nigeria

Climate change reflects the variations in the average daily weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, and sunshine of a location over an extended period. In recent times, it has been aggravated by human activities above other natural shifts or variations.

The conversation around climate change is a difficult one, but it must happen for us to mitigate the harmful impacts of human activities.

Nigeria has two major seasons- raining season and dry season, with splatters of harmattan in between. But how do you explain harmattan in February/March or ‘snowfall’ in Taraba State? Even extreme drought in rainforest zones? These scenarios are linked to climate change.

It occurs as a result of global warming due to the depletion of the ozone layer in the atmosphere. The ozone layer prevents heat from the sun from reaching the earth at a high intensity, but it gets depleted when certain gases are released into the atmosphere from human and natural factors.

These greenhouse gases, (as they are referred to), include carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbon.

Highlights from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA’s) 2022 annual global climate report revealed that “Earth’s average land and ocean surface temperature in 2022 was 1.55ºF (0.86 of a ºC) above the 20th-century average of 57.0 ºF (13.9 ºC) – the sixth highest figure in 1880-2022 records.

Now to bring it home, Nigeria’s climate has been changing, and this is evident in the increase in temperature; variable rainfall; rise in sea level and flooding; drought and desertification; land degradation; and many more frequent extreme weather events. The durations and intensities of rainfall have increased, producing large runoffs and flooding in many places.

These changes are impacting agriculture and food security, depleting resources in every part of the country and posing a serious food security challenge in the face of a rapidly growing population. Low crop yield, food shortages, reduced livestock production, loss of income, and growing desperation over food supply are driving resource conflicts across Nigeria. 

Human infrastructure is also threatened by a changing climate, with evidence of encroachment of coastlines, stress to the energy grid, decreased hydroelectric power supply and shifting structures or landscapes. Loss of shelter, roads, and farmlands due to erosion in some parts of Nigeria has reached a point where this calls for urgent actions. 

To reverse the trend while we can, everyone must join the clarion call to save our world by being kinder to the Earth, ensuring good waste management and disposal practices, using renewable energy sources for domestic activities, and adopting environment-friendly appliances to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

However, one of the biggest challenges with creating awareness for the consequences of climate change is that many people think that the adverse effects are only in far-away countries, not directly touching our lives.  This is the farthest thing from the truth!

We only have one Earth and whatever affects one, affects us all.

Let’s save the world and start with the simple things that can save our environment in your neighborhood.

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