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Experts stress connection between unseasonal rainfall and climate change

By Rana Tayseer - May 30,2023 - Last updated at May 30,2023

Farmers reported extensive damages following the unseasonal heavy rainfall accompanied by hail on Monday (Photo courtesy of Mahmoud Oran)

AMMAN — Following the sudden heavy rainfall in Jordan on Monday, experts stressed the importance of increasing the public’s awareness of the impacts of climate change.

Zina Hamdan, Director of Awraq Organisation for Environmental Development, emphasised the urgent need for immediate action in response to the escalating challenges posed by climate change.

“Recent heavy rains accompanied by large hailstones have caused significant damage to crops and personal property, serving as a stark warning of the gravity of the situation, that adapting to these effects has become increasingly difficult and will continue to worsen unless swift and decisive measures are taken,” Hamdan told The Jordan Times.

Jordan has been actively engaged in numerous international agreements aimed at both adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change within the Kingdom and across the globe, she added. 

The country, as highlighted in the 2021 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is recognised as one of the nations most vulnerable to drought due to climate change. 

While Jordan’s efforts to combat climate change are ambitious, implementation is hindered by the need for long-term strategies and limited resources, including financial and human resources, she said.

“Insufficient funding remains a significant challenge impeding the execution of vital climate change adaptation projects such as reforestation, pasture rehabilitation and water initiatives,” Hamdan added.

The estimated cost of the projects and interventions necessary to mitigate the problem is approximately $7.5 billion. 

Jordan is committed to securing the required financing, covering 5 per cent of the Kingdom’s ambitious goal of reducing emissions by 31 per cent. However, the remaining 26 per cent is dependent on international funding and support, which is conditional and uncertain, Hamdan added.

Recognising the necessity of increasing public knowledge and raising awareness on the profound effects of climate change, Hamdan stressed the importance of empowering individuals, especially young people, as agents of change. 

Their meaningful participation in decisions that impact their lives and future, particularly regarding sustainable natural resource management and climate change, must be supported, she added.

Mohammad Al Hilalat, deputy of the Petra region, said that the recent rainfall that the Kingdom has witnessed is “an unprecedented phenomenon”.

“Climate change has a social and economic impact that affects citizens, and as we have witnessed, many people have had their homes, farms and even their cars damaged. This constitutes a great burden on citizens and the national income,” Hilalat added.

Acting Director of the Jordan Meteorological Department, Abdel Moneim Al Garalleh, explained that cases of atmospheric instability, especially strong ones, usually result in heavy rain and strong thunderstorms.

Garalleh said in a recent statement that the recent large-scale hail showers, which shattered some vehicle windows in the streets of Amman, were caused by thermal differences in the upper and surface layers of the atmosphere, as well as humidity and heightened atmospheric instability.


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