Effects of Human Activities on Rainfall

Can what I do affect rainfall? Plogging Nigeria has come again. I mean, rain has been falling unhindered since the inception of the world and I'm just one person in 7 billion. How can something I do affect anything about how or when rain falls? 

It may surprise you to learn that studies have found out that human activities can alter rainfall and the water cycle. According to research, human activities such as greenhouse gas emissions and intensive land use play a crucial role in extreme precipitation events like flooding and landslides around the world.

Flooding and landslides have occurred often in recent years, and severe precipitation, defined as an amount of rain or snowfall that exceeds what is normal for a given region, can be a contributing factor.

According to the first major worldwide study that analyses these changes over the past century, human activities are modifying the world's precipitation patterns, bringing greater rainfall to Canada, Northern Europe, and Russia and drier weather to tropical and subtropical countries north of the equator. Also, higher temperatures and warmer oceans have been attributed to global warming.

If the only issue was temperature changes, we can cope. But now, water changes are getting into the equation and it's not as easy to handle. Economies will be affected, food supply will be cut short and they can lead to population displacement. Human activities have also been proven to be the cause of the wetter weather experienced in the Northern Hemisphere in recent years. Around the equator too, regions south of it have become wetter while those North of it have become drier. 

Did you know that between 1925 and 1999, the larger part of Europe and North America has seen an increase of 62 millimeters per century in amount of rainfall. Studies also further prove that between 50% and 85% of this increase can be attributed to the activities of humans. 

So, we see that our activities actually affect the amount of rainfall and the seasonal timing as well. In Kaduna, for instance, there has been incessant rain between June and July which usually is the case in August in former years. Flooding is also experienced in the month of October but with the changes in the weather pattern, flooding has been predicted to occur even earlier in the year in Kaduna state. 

What are these human activities that contribute to these climate changes in rainfall? They are the release of greenhouse gases, exhaust fumes from vehicles and emissions from the burning of fossil fuels into the environment. 

What can be done to mitigate this climate risk that threatens our planet? Join us again next week as we discuss this 


Cressey, D. Rainfall changes linked to human activity. Nature (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/news070723-4


Mubarak Mustapha 

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