Author: Isabelle Gerretsen

Scientists warn data gaps must not block loss and damage

Source(s): Climate Home News
An African farmer with his herd of goats.
Andrzej Kubik/Shutterstock

Scientists warn that a lack of weather data in much of Africa means that loss and damage funds can not be dependent on a disaster being proven to be caused by climate change.

A shortage of weather monitoring stations in places like West Africa’s Sahel region make it difficult to prove a disaster was caused by climate change.


Erratic rainfall in 2021 triggered a severe food crisis, leaving 9.7m people in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger facing hunger.

Scientists used three observational data sets and three indices of wet season characteristics. These were how much it rained in June, when it started raining and how long it rained for. They concluded that they “could not detect significant trends or a climate change influence in the 2021 rainy season.” 


The data gaps are partly due to a lack of weather stations in Africa. The data gaps are partly due to a lack of weather stations in Africa. Mali, for example, has just 13 active weather stations, compared to 200 in Germany – a country one third the size of Mali, Bloomberg reports.

Weather stations are expensive to set up and maintain but are critical to understand the current and future climate trends. 


Climate attribution informs the debate on loss and damage. 

Joyce Kimutai, climate scientist at the Kenya Meteorological Department, said there are serious concerns about attempts to connect loss and damage finance directly to attribution data. 


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