Climate change likely to threaten human safety – Ghanaian Scientist

climate-changeA Ghanaian scientist has said climate change will likely increase the frequency and strength of extreme events such as floods, droughts, and storms that shall threaten human safety and health.

Dr Hans Adu-Dapaah, Director, Crops Research Institute (CRI), Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), said such a climate would also allow some diseases to spread more easily.

He said: “Severe warming, floods, and drought may reduce crop yields and can harm crops/yields, livestock may be at risk, both directly from heat stress and indirectly from reduced quality of their food supply while fisheries would be affected by changes in water temperature”.

Speaking on the topic: “Promoting Climate Smart Agricultural Research–The Case of CSIR, Ghana”, at the ongoing 2nd Climate and Population Conference being hosted by the Regional Institute of Population Studies, University of Ghana, Dr Adu-Dapaah said evidence of climate change in Ghana shows that mean annual temperature had increased by 1.0°C since 1960, on an average rate of 0.21°C per decade.

He said the rate of increase has been most rapid in April, May and June, around 0.27°C per decade whereas it has been generally more rapid in the northern regions of the country than in the south.

Dr Adu-Dapaah said total annual rainfall in Ghana has had an overall decreasing trend between the period 1960 to 2006, with an average of 2.3mm per month (2.4 per cent) per decade.

He said long term trends were difficult to identify because annual rainfall in Ghana was highly variable on inter‐annual and inter‐decadal timescales

Dr Adu-Dapaah said while there has been a10-20cm rise in global sea-level since 1900, in Ghana, the ocean claims 1.5 to two metres of the country’s 539 kilometre coastline annually, with the most risky areas recording four metres.

He said moderate warming and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may help plants to grow faster whereas a warmer climate was expected to both increase the risk of heat-related illnesses and death and worsen conditions for air quality.

He said climate change impact was increasingly becoming severe and that long-term projections indicated crop yields could fall by up to 50 per cent by 2020, net revenues from crops could drop by as much as 90 per cent by 2100.

Dr Adu-Dappah said using Climate Smart Agriculture to minimise the impact of Climate Change would sustainably increases farm productivity, make agriculture more resilient,  contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration as well as enhance the achievement of national food security.

Development and promotion of the use of more disease and pest tolerant crop varieties, development of Phosphorous efficient and Nitrogen fixing crop varieties (cowpea, soybean), participatory varietal selection, improved farming systems, crop residue management and mulching are equally important.

He said CSIR-CRI had developed Climate Smart Technologies and disseminated them for increased productivity and promotion of high yielding, good quality crop varieties and traits.

Dr Adu-Dapaah said the Institute had further developed CSA technologies to increase productivity, adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure national food security.

He recommended the building of institutional capacity for the dissemination and support of climate smart agriculture technologies and the need to build the capacity of farmers in the use of conservation practices that would ensure more farm yields in the face of climate change.

Source: GNA

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