Ghana is a Tropical West African country which typically enjoys two major seasons in a year, usually the rainy (wet) and the dry season. For eons, the Harmattan (hot, dry and dusty winds) blows from the Sahara Desert into the Gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March.
Usually, Northern Ghana experiences its rainy season from March to November while South Ghana experiences its rainy season from April to -October with June-July at the peak of the rainy season.
Due to the mostly hot and dry winds, it is almost impossible to successfully grow crops which rely heavily on constant water/rainfall for its growth. Thus, making the season of rainfall the best choice for farmers and gardeners alike to get busy with their farming practices.
Strangely however, in recent times, sudden drastic and unprecedented changes in the Ghanaian weather conditions continue to impact heavy toll on its socioeconomic infrastructure and especially agriculture. The sudden heavy downpour in October and November is not usual to our weather pattern and Ghanaians have expressed worry about these developments.
Whiles Ghanaians especially farmers had expected these rains in its usual season (rainy season) for their planting season, never did they expect that these heavy downpour would deny them their ability to prepare their lands for the next farming season, and little did they expect that the heavy downpour would severely destroy houses and educational infrastructures.
‘ Historical data for Ghana from the year 1961 to 2000 clearly shows a progressive rise in temperature and decrease in mean annual rainfall in all the six agro-ecological zones in the country. Climate change is manifested in Ghana through: (i) rising temperatures, (ii) declining rainfall totals and increased variability, (iii) rising sea levels and (iv) high incidence of weather extremes and disasters. The average annual temperature has increased 1°C in the last 30 years. Based on this data, the Minia et al. (2004) estimate that temperature will continue to rise, while rainfall is also predicted to decrease in all agro-ecological zones’ – UNEP/UNDP research – Climate Change and Development for Sub-Saharan Africa (2006)
Although the debate of climate change rages on, as to whether it is a hoax (as the president of the United State continue to declare https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46351940 ) or a reality, one thing is certain that recent changes in global weather condition is felt across the length and breadth of the worlds.
In recent times, one can clearly realise the impacts of climate change manifesting globally and especially it is impacting on African countries like Ghana that is relatively vulnerable.
Evidence abounds in Ghana that temperatures in all the ecological zones are rising whereas rainfall levels and patterns have been generally reducing and increasingly becoming erratic. The national economy stands to suffer from the impacts of climate change because it is dependent on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, energy, forestry, etc. Based on a 20-year baseline climate observation, it is forecasted that maize and other cereal crop yields will reduce by 7% by 2050. Available data also shows a sea-level rise of 2.1 mm per year over the last 30 years, indicating a rise of 5.8 cm, 16.5 cm and 34.5 cm by 2020, 2050 and 2080. (Agyemang-Bonsu et al., 2008).
According to a joint UNEP/UNDP research for Sub-Saharan Africa (2006), the major climate change which impacts affect all sectors, places and people differently depending on the levels of vulnerability. Ghana’s vulnerability to climate change is in large part defined by its exposure to the various impacts with droughts, floods, and sea erosion as the main drivers. The most affected sectors in Ghana include the economic, social and infrastructural groups. This it further states has reduced the economic activity of most inhabitants within these areas who primarily fish for a living. Mounds of not being able to find alternatives to raising their living standards would adversely affect their education, health and social well-being.
President Barack Hussein Obama once expressed worry when he said, “Climate Change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now.” Indeed, the only options available to humanity are to initiate reasonable and sustaining ways of mitigating the adverse effects of climate change on our planet.
According to Nunez (2019), Addressing climate change will require many solutions—there’s no magic bullet. Yet nearly all of these solutions exist today, and many of them hinge on humans changing the way we behave, shifting the way we make and consume energy. The required changes span technologies, behaviors, and policies that encourage less waste and smarter use of our resources. For example, improvements to energy efficiency and vehicle fuel economy, increases in wind and solar power, biofuels from organic waste, setting a price on carbon, and protecting forests are all potent ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases trapping heat on the planet.
Every individual Ghanaian has a role to play, to ensure that collectively we slow down the progress of climate change this to avert its fast-rising consequences on our country and the world over.
Nuhu Mohammed (November,2019).