Strange weather pattern in Kenya linked to Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)


Strange weather pattern in Kenya linked to Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)

Unusually strong winds hit Kenya and Tanzania in October resulting in deaths, power outages, dust storms, damaged houses and uprooted trees.

Experts said the strange weather pattern also characterized by interchanging hot and cold temperatures would get worse.

“I mostly fear about the situation in East Africa, which is vulnerable even without an adverse climate event,” Dr. Saji N.Hameed, a Professor at Japan’s University of Aizu told weather.com in a past interview.

In October, one person was killed in an electrocution incident in Kenya while in Tanzania, two tourists reportedly died after the strong winds capsized their boat on Lake Momela in Arusha.

Fast forward to December and hundreds have been killed in landslides following heavy rains and flooding.

The Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna on Tuesday revealed that so far, 132 people lost their lives and approximately 17,000 people been displaced.

According to Prof. Hameed, the current weather pattern is linked to the strongest Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) on record.

He describes IOD as the El Niño of the Indian Ocean; a phenomenon whose positive phase is associated with higher monsoon rainfall in India, the report reads.

The Professor, who has studied IODs for 20 years, warns that it could have devastating effects around the world, Kenya and Tanzania included.

In Kenya, the IOD is said to be behind the extreme rainfall that is expected to last from October to December.

Tanzania experienced devastating effects of the unpredictable weather changes

“Massive sandstorms engulf Arusha in Tanzania, as unseasonally strong winds sweep eastern Africa,” the BBC report said in October.

Kenya and Tanzania are among the African countries that have coastlines along the Indian Ocean alongside Mauritius, South Africa, Comoros, Sudan, Egypt, and Seychelles.

Prof. Hameed who has studied IODs for the past 20 years says the phenomenon occurs every 10 years.

The Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) also avers that East Africa will experience increased frequency of extreme weather as global temperatures continue spiral upwards.

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Story By Paul Ombati
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