National Climate Change Information System
A key feature of the projected climate change futures of South Africa is that temperatures are to increase drastically under low mitigation scenarios. For the far-future period of 2080-2099, temperature increases of more than 4 °C are likely over the entire South African interior, with increases of more than 6 °C plausible over large parts of the western, central and northern parts. Such increases will also be associated with drastic increases in the numbers of heat-wave days and very hot days, with potentially devastating impacts on agriculture, water security, biodiversity and human health. The model projections are indicative that a modest-high mitigation pathway can still significantly decrease the amplitude of this warming – most projections suggest that under Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5(RCP4.5), for example, temperature increases over the interior can be constrained to 2.5 to 4 °C. Nevertheless, it should be realised that South Africa is plausibly committed to relatively large (compared to the global average) increases in near-surface temperatures, even under high-mitigation futures.
South Africa is expected to experience:
Increase in mean, maximum and minimum temperatures.
Increase in very hot days – above 35 °C and the frequency of heat wave events.
Drier conditions in the future, with regional variation.
Slight increases in rainfall towards the north-eastern region.
A strong drying signal over the southwestern region, which could result in reductions in rainfall of more than 40 mm per year.
Increase in the frequency of extreme rainfall events (20 mm of rain falling within 24 hours) over eastern parts during the summer months.
Sea level rise and an increase in the frequency and intensity of sea storms, accompanied by increases in wave heights
Increase in the number of high fire danger days over north-eastern region and along the Cape south coast and the south-western Cape.