The Republic of South Africa is situated in the southernmost part of the African continent. Lying within a drought belt, coupled with an economy largely dependent on climate-sensitive sectors, the potential changes in climate may have significant impacts on the South African society and economy. Some of South Africa’s adaptation projects include: public awareness programmes and measures to reduce the incidence of both malaria and schistosomiasis.
The climate of South Africa is typically warm with temperatures ranging between 0°C and 35°C. Rainfall patterns fluctuate with a mean rainfall of only 464 mm compared to a world average of 857 mm. Higher temperatures and a reduction in rainfall expected as a result of climate change will reduce already depleted water resources, contributing to an increasing number of droughts in the country. South Africa’s development is highly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture and forestry. Increases in temperature and reductions in rainfall threaten the productivity of these sectors. Tourism is another key driver of South Africa’s economic growth. Ranked third in the world in terms of biological diversity, desertification caused by a hotter drier climate could potentially reduce biodiversity, threatening the tourism industry. Additionally, increases in sea temperature could alter migratory patterns of marine fisheries and increase the occurrence of harmful algal blooms causing mass mortality of fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds and other animals.
Diseases such as malaria and schistosomiasis are prevalent in South Africa. Temperature increases and changes in rainfall patterns could potentially extend the areas prone to these diseases, exacerbating the already high prevalence of both malaria and schistosomiasis in the country.
The following section is found in the Meister Consultants Group study: Floating Houses and Mosquito Nets: Emerging Climate Change Adaptation Strategies Around the World.