Global warming and climate change with reference to South Africa. Some perspectives
According to the geological history of the earth, climate change is an integral part of environmental changes that occurred over time. Sufficient evidence is provided of recurrent wet and dry and cold and hot periods due to natural circumstances. Since the industrial revolution human activities increasingly contribute to air pollution by releasing huge volumes of carbon dioxide and other gasses into the atmosphere, so much so that it is generally accepted that increase in global warming the past decades is directly linked to human activities. Observable signs of human induced climate change include increasing average temperatures at many places, melting ice caps in polar areas, rising sea levels on a global scale and coastal disturbances and damages due to storm surges on coastal areas in various countries, also in South Africa. Consensus from a number of hydrological-meteorological circulation models show, for South Africa, a rise in average annual winter and summer temperatures of between 1.5 and 3.0 degrees Centigrade the following number of decades with a strong possibility of an increase in rainfall in the eastern parts and a decrease in rainfall in the western parts. Bigger floods and longer droughts should occur more frequently as well as severe sea onslaught activities along the eastern and south-eastern coastal areas. The net impact of the predictions on the community is negative. There is though other scientists who indicate that no concrete proof of climate change in South Africa exists; including changes with regard to river floods and droughts. According to more beneficial than detrimental. Despite the differences in opinion about the relative contribution of natural and human activities to the present global warming, changes in hydrological and characteristics of floods in several parts of South Africa in the immediate past, necessitate modifications to available models and approaches to flood damage management and control. Flood conditions need to be managed with applicable models. Modifications are furthermore essential as a result of meaningful demographic, social, physical and economic changes in the working and living environments of people and communities.