In 2017, West Africa saw one of the deadliest floods in its history. Hundreds of people lost their lives and many more were left with no shelter. The storm wiped out homes and lives as easy as playing the gry casino za darmo game. So, what is deforestation? How does it contribute to storms in that part of the world? What West African cities are most at risk? The answers lie in the lines to come.
What is deforestation?
Deforestation is the process of intentional global elimination of forested land by humans. Deforestation happens due to the exploitation of green spaces through urbanization, mining, and agricultural activities. Just a few centuries ago, before the industrial revolution started, more than 70% of the planet earth, especially continents like Europe, Asia, and America, had been forested. Today, deforestation has been on the rise year after year since 1960. Between 2015 and 2020 alone, it is estimated that the rate of deforestation has reached 10 million hectares per year. Since 1990, according to climate experts, it is estimated that the global forested land has decreased by close to 80 million hectares. This scary number will, unfortunately, keep climbing with every passing year, unless we do something about deforestation.
Why does deforestation trigger storms in West Africa?
In a new study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers found out that the loss of woodland is the main culprit behind the deluges in West Africa. Trees have a cooling effect on everything surrounding them. In coastal areas especially, their role is more important; trees balance the land and water temperature.
In normal forested areas, during the daytime, land, and water heat up at an almost equal speed. However, when a piece of land loses its vegetation cover, it tends to heat up faster than water. This raises the daytime temperature. The latter generates fierce winds, which in turn, trigger storms.
This explains the frequent storms west Africa is experiencing lately. Researchers leading the study discovered that the storms in the region are happening a lot more frequently compared to 30 years ago. This makes sense, as the region has lost a substantial chunk of its forested land due to urbanization and manufacturing activities.
Which West African cities are at risk?
All cities located on the coast, especially those closest to deforested areas are at risk of storms and landslides. In the study mentioned above, scientists discovered that cities that sit a few tens of kilometres away from areas that lost their vegetation coat are twice as vulnerable to storms compared to those that are surrounded by forests. These, the researchers noticed, saw a 30 to 40% increase only. This is still a significant increase, but compared to cities closed to deforested land, it is still not that big. In short, according to the study, the cities that are more likely to be affected frequently by storms are the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown, and Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.
Deforestation is a severe problem that is threatening the planet we live on. It causes storms, and landslides; destroys infrastructure, and takes lives away, not only in West Africa but around the globe.