Study: Deadly Sahel heatwave linked to human caused climate change

Study: Deadly Sahel heatwave linked to human caused climate change
A child fetches water from a well in Barkeo, Mauritania/Source: IFRC

Human induced climate change contributed to the intense and lethal hot spell that blanketed the Sahel region of West Africa in April, according to AFP citing a study by the World Weather Attribution, an international network of scientists focusing on extreme weather events. 

Mali and Burkina Faso experienced an exceptional heatwave April 1 to April 5, with temperatures soaring above 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) triggering a large number of deaths.

While periods of high temperatures are common in the Sahel at this time of year, the report said that the April heatwave would have been 1.4C cooler "if humans had not warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels".

It added that the five days of extreme heat was a once-in-a-200-year event, but that "these trends will continue with future warming".

A lack of data in the affected countries made it impossible to know the exact number of deaths, the WWA said, adding there were likely hundreds, if not thousands, of other heat-related casualties.

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