Rain. Drought. Hailstorms. Tornadoes. Frost. You’d be hard-pressed to name a weather phenomenon that hasn’t afflicted the African kingdom of Lesotho in recent times, destroying its crops and leaving one-third of its 2.1 million people on the brink of starvation. Now, many scientists are saying that those people, along with nearly 40 million other Africans facing famine, may be among the first human victims of climate change. Although experts are reluctant to blame any particular weather event on climate change, many concur that the weather patterns plaguing Lesotho and other African nations are eerily consistent with predictions of how weather systems will behave in a warmer world. Scientists expect that the situation in Lesotho and elsewhere will only get worse, and they are concerned that as crop failure becomes commonplace, food shortages in the region will become chronic, rather than one-time emergencies.
Get Grist in your inbox