Why the floods in East Africa are so bad

Source(s)
British Broadcasting Corporation

BBC Weather's Darren Bett explains the reasons behind Kenya's flooding

Rain-triggered disasters, including flash floods and landslides, have killed at least 250 people and affected some three million people across East Africa in recent weeks, with about half of the deaths occurring in Kenya.

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The effects of a warming world on seasonal rainfall in East Africa are unclear. As a rule of thumb (and by the laws of physics), a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour and therefore has the potential to produce more rain.

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Weather experts say the rains have been enhanced by a phenomenon called the Indian Ocean Dipole which, when positive, can cause a rise in water temperatures in the Indian Ocean of up to 2C. This leads to higher evaporation rates off the East African coastline and this water then falls inland.

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This year's sea temperature difference between the western and eastern Indian Ocean has been record-breaking and rainfall in parts of Kenya has been much higher than normal.

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