Current Heavy Floods Not Climate Change, But Concrete Jungle

– Meteo Director

The Deputy Director of Synoptic Meteorology and Forecasting at the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA), Joe Tettey Portuphy has disagreed with the popular view that the recent heavy downpours in the country are the consequences of climate change.

According to him, available data to meteorologists shows that there is only a climate variation.

“People call it climate change, I want to be very conserved because before I can say it is climate change then it means this pattern has been there over a 30 year period, then that one I can say there is a climate change. But per the data that I saw i realize that there is a variability; every six or seven years we get this and then it will go back to the normal way and then it comes back again to this kind of season. So I will call it climate variability,” Mr. Portuphy said on Accra based 3 FM this morning.

The interview was an offshoot from yesterday’s flooding in parts of the country, including the motorway in Accra.

Occurring as a result of a rare soggy weather pattern in October, many people have interpreted the marathon downpours that are happening this month as the result of climate change. But the Deputy Director of Synoptic Meteorology at the GMA explains that the data says something different.

“Your major (rainy) season may not do well, then you will be compensated through minor seasons and I think this year it is a critical year that we can say the minor season is doing very good. Because all the systems (factors) that lead to the formation of rain are in place; there is a lot of moisture in the system and could you believe that as at this time, it is still raining in the North heavily so it means our minor rainy season has done really well,” Mr. Portuphy said.

He blamed the flooding in Ghanaian cities, especially Accra on the fact that these cities have over the years transformed into concrete jungles, leaving little natural land area for the rain to seep into the ground.

“Previously, for Accra to be flooded you have to get 110ml of rain within a space of two hours, but currently I tell you even 40ml of rain will get Accra flooded.

“Our resilient level in Accra is becoming lower, lower, and lower; that is the ability of our system to contain the rainfall is becoming lower. Lower because the sort of structures we  are putting up – all our homes are paved, schools are paved, hospitals are paved, everywhere you pass are paved. When you have things like that you have a lot of run-offs and when there are run offs and our drainage systems are not capable of managing the run-offs then they (water) will come into our streets and our homes.”

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