Study blames "human-caused climate change" for floods that mainly struck Nigeria but also hit Niger, Chad and other African countries displacing over 1.4 million people.
Heavy rains behind deadly floods that killed over 600 people in Nigeria this year were about 80 times likelier because of the human-caused climate crisis, scientists have said in a report.
In a study published on Wednesday, the World Weather Attribution (WWA) found that exceptional rains which sparked flooding from June to October were around 80 times likelier because of "human-caused climate change".
"We will see very intense rains in the region in the coming years," warned climatologist Friederike Otto of Imperial College London, who led the study.
The floods that mainly struck Nigeria but also hit Niger, Chad and neighbouring countries displaced over 1.4 million people.
They swept away tens of thousands of homes and swathes of farmland, devastating a region already vulnerable to food insecurity.
'Africa needs greater investment'
The scientists compared climate data from past and present weather information focusing on Lake Chad and the lower Niger River basins to determine the impact warming temperatures had on the flooding.
They found that the region's rainy season was 20 percent wetter than normal because of the climate crisis and that an event of this intensity now has a one in 10 chance of happening each year.
Researchers also analysed the impact of the climate crisis on droughts in 2021 that reduced crop production in the central Sahel and contributed to an ongoing food crisis but were unable to reach any conclusions due to a lack of reliable weather station data.
The scientists called for greater investment in weather stations in the region to inform their work in the future and help communities prepare for extreme weather events.
"Resources are needed for Africa to create early warning systems and to build climate-resilient infrastructure and cities," philanthropist Mo Ibrahim told The Associated Press news agency.
In Sharm el Sheikh, where the UN's two-week climate conference known as COP27 is underway, activists from the Niger Delta called for an end to fossil fuels that are responsible for climate change.
"Oil exploration contributes immensely to the climate crises, among them being the heavy flooding in Nigeria in October," said Nigerian activist Lucky Abeng. "That's why we have come to the COP, to amplify our voices for the entire global south on fossil fuels emitters."