Green spouts on drought
Aug 8, 2011
Bishop Hill in Climate: WG2

Duncan Green is head of research at Oxfam GB and has written an article exploring the question of whether the drought in the Horn of Africa is caused by climate change. The article is here and an edited version appears at the Guardian. I'm sure that comment will be freer at Mr Green's place.

Green presents evidence to support the idea that the drought in the Horn of Africa is global warming in action: anecdotal evidence from the locals and increases in surface temperatures. He also notes rather more importantly that the rainfall records are ambiguous.

He then goes on to look at the models:

Globally, climate change modelling projects an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events like droughts and floods. In the absence of urgent action to slash global greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures in the region will probably increase by 3°C-4°C by 2080-2099 relative to 1980-1999.

As we can see, Mr Green skirts over all the uncertainties in the IPCC storylines and portrays no sense of just how tentative the conclusions about extreme weather events are. This is par for the course for political campaigners, I suppose.

The models also suggest that rainfall will increase in a warming world. This being the case, one should presumably conclude that drought is not an issue we should worry about. This is, however, another issue that Mr Green chooses not to discuss.

Article originally appeared on (
See website for complete article licensing information.