CSIR Global Change eBOOK
In recent years, South Africa has experienced an El Niño-related drought reported to be one of the worst meteorological droughts since 1904. The average rainfall in this drought period (late 2014–2016) was about 403 mm compared to 608 mm over the last 112 years (Manderson et al. 2016). El Niño is associated with the warming up of the Pacific Ocean, which is normally at a rate of 0.01% but has increased to a rate of 0.1% and the danger of exceeding the 1% critical threshold is imminent. The warming of the Pacific Ocean interrupts the usual weather patterns and affects the global climate. This could result in droughts in one region and intense storms in another (CPC 2015; Manderson et al. 2016:5). El Niño brings dry conditions to most of southern Africa (Makhubu 2015). The drought and heat conditions have impacted on the already dry and drought-stricken country, exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and affecting sectors such as water and agriculture.