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Climate change: Why did it rain in November? [Pulse Explainer]

The scientists found that extreme precipitation events would increase globally...

Photo by Zainab Lawal on Unsplash

Residents in parts of Lagos (Lekki, Ikoyi, Victoria Island) experienced an unusual downpour of rain, in the afternoon of Monday, November 28, 2022.

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Taking to Twitter, residents of Lagos decried the unusuality of having such heavy thunderstorms at this time of the year. It is important to know that the thunderstorm was short-lived.

Nigeria is generally hot all year round, lying within the tropical zone with little variation between winter and summer. Seasons are defined as the wet season, from April to October, and the dry season, from November until March.

The Tropical Continental air mass is the dry northwesterly winds known as the harmattan, which shows up during the dry season. The dry season occurs when northeasterly winds cover the whole of the northern part of the country and may even break through to the coast on a few days during the height of the season as we have experienced in Lagos during early February 2013.

The rainy season occurs all over Nigeria when the ITF has retreated beyond the northern boundary of Nigeria and the whole country is traversed by southwesterly winds.

Nigeria is characterized by three distinct climate zones, a tropical monsoon climate in the south, a tropical savannah climate for most of the central regions, and a Sahelian hot and semi-arid climate in the north of the country. This leads to a gradient of declining precipitation amounts from south to north. The southern regions experience strong rainfall events during the rainy season from March to October with annual rainfall amounts, usually above 2,000 mm, and can reach 4,000 mm and more in the Niger Delta.

The scientists found that extreme precipitation events would increase globally. They found that climate change had boosted rains by up to 9% — and that future warming would almost certainly mean more rainfall.

"Extreme precipitation" refers to instances during which the amount of rain or snow experienced in a location substantially exceeds what is normal and in unusual seasons.

Scientists expect these trends to continue as the planet warms. For each degree Celsius of warming, the air's capacity for water vapour goes up by about 7 per cent. An atmosphere with more moisture can produce more intense precipitation events, which is exactly what has been observed.

The hotter it gets, the more rain we'd get during the dry season.

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