Written by on April 26, 2023

A twitter post claiming that extreme weather events are no more frequent is false.

“Extreme weather is not happening more in any way. Propaganda,” states the claim.

A study published in March 2023 in the journal Nature Water indicates that there has been a sharp increase in the intensity of extreme drought and rainfall over the past 20 years. It states that these are not merely tough weather events, but they are leading to extremes such as infrastructure damage, crop failure as well as humanitarian crises and conflict.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), climate change has created warmer and drier conditions in the Western United States, leading to fire seasons that last longer and burn more area in the recent decades.  

Over 70,000 people died across Europe in 2003, in a sweltering heat wave that spanned much of the summer. An attribution study conducted in 2004 found that the likelihood of such an event had at least been doubled by climate warming from human activity. Another study conducted in 2014 found that a similar extremely hot summer in Europe has become 10 times more likely over the last 10-15 years due to climate change. A study published on 8th July 2016 in Environmental Research Letters attributes the number of deaths during the 2003 heatwave to the warming climate. The comparison of the authors indicates that 70% of heat related deaths in central Paris and 20% in Greater London were as a result of human-induced climate change. This therefore means that 506 out of 735 heat-related deaths in Paris during the 2003 summer were due to human-induced climate change, whereas 64 out of 315 in London were due to the same. 

Source: Carbon Brief

According to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Southern African countries faced a series of severe cyclones in the first few months of 2022, killing at least 890 people and affecting a further 2.8 million people. Heavy rains and floods associated with the storms contributed to outbreaks of water-borne diseases, food security and malnutrition according to the report. The report indicates that there were cholera outbreaks in Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia, whereas an increase in Malaria was reported in Madagascar and Mozambique.

In October 2022, floods in Nigeria killed more than 600 people, and affected a further 1.3 million, according to the government briefings to the media. The floods are the most severe the country has seen in a decade. There were also two floods in Chad with the first one affecting 977,000 people in August 2022, and the second one affecting one million people in October.

In July 2022, Tunisia battled intense fires amid temperatures 40 degrees Celsius. Fires broke out South of the capital city Tunis, forcing several neighborhoods to evacuate. The fires also badly damaged Tunisia’s grain crop.      

We looked into this claim stating that extreme weather events are no more frequent and found it to be false.

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck,  International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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