Climate change impacts in Tanzania

Climate change impacts in Tanzania - what the IPCC 4th Assessment Report has found:
  • Kilimanjaro glaciers and snow cover have been retreating (55% of glacier loss between 1962 and 2000 (see Fig. TS-10). Debate over past and current climate change and ice cap coverage, however, persists. Over the 20th century, the spatial extent of Kilimanjaro’s ice fields has decreased by 80% (Figure 9.2). It is suggested by some, that if current climatological conditions persist, the remaining ice fields are likely to disappear between 2015 and 2020 (for the first time in 11 000 years) [9.2.1.4].
  • Loss of ‘cloud forests’ since 1976 resulting in 25% annual reductions of water sources derived from fog, affecting annual drinking water of 1 million people living in Kilimanjaro [9.4.5].
  • Along with warming surface waters, deep water temperatures (which reflect long-term trends) of the large East African lakes (Victoria, Malawi) have warmed by 0.2 to 0.7°C since the early 1900s [1.3.2.3].
  • Deep tropical lakes, are experiencing reduced algal abundance and declines in productivity because stronger stratification reduces upwelling of nutrient-rich deep water. Primary productivity in Lake Tanganyika may have decreased by up to 20% over the past 200 years, and for the East African Rift Valley lakes, recent declines in fish abundance have been linked with climatic impacts on lake ecosystems [1.3.4.4].
  • The 1997-1998 coral bleaching observed in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea was coupled to a strong ENSO (an indication of the potential impact of climate-change induced ocean warming on coral reefs). In the western Indian Ocean region, a 30% loss of corals reduced tourism in Mombasa and Zanzibar and resulted in financial losses of about US$ 12-18 million [9.2.1.4].
  • Mangroves and coral reefs, the main coastal ecosystems in Africa, will likely be affected by climate change. Endangered species associated with these ecosystems, including manatees and marine turtles, could also be at risk, along with migratory birds [9.4.5].
Mangrove Along the coast of Mafia Island, Tanzania.  / ©: WWF-Canon / Sandra MBANEFO OBIAGO
Mangrove Along the coast of Mafia Island, Tanzania.
© WWF-Canon / Sandra MBANEFO OBIAGO

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WWF work

What WWF is doing on the ground in Tanzania to protect against climate change:
WWF is testing its approach to build resilience in tropical mangroves and associate coral reefs in Fiji, Tanzania, Cameroon and India.

This project aims to build the capacity of nature resource managers to assess vulnerability and to adapt management strategies to respond to expected climate change impacts.

Initial vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning point to the need for mangrove protection, reforestation with "climate-smart species," integrated land-use and marine planning, as well as activities to improve resource use technology.

Coordinating the testing of adaptation methods in geographically diverse locations within a common habitat type aims to increase the replicability so that the project results can be transferred to other conservation efforts around the globe.

Climate Witnesses

WWF runs the Climate Witness programme to collect people's local observations of climate change that are then verified by scientists.
Rajabu Mohammed Soselo is a fisherman who lives in Kunduchi, 18km north of Dar Es Salaam, capital of Tanzania. The advancing seas of the Indian Ocean have destroyed an historic fish market and washed away homes. He also seen reductions in fish catch and shorter rainy season.

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