Implications of climate change on the management of Rift Valley lakes in Kenya. The case of lake Baringo
Ngaira, Josephine K.
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Climate patterns of the World became very variable during the last half of the twentieth century. Causes of this variability/change have been identified as: Sun Spot activity, ozone depletion, decline in the solar beam, with the more pronounced especially in Africa being Increased atmospheric carbondioxide, and albedo change due to anthropogenic factors. The most affected weather elements by the above mentioned factors particularly in the tropics are Rainfall and Temperature, and the climatic environments most affected by the named weather elements are the arid and semi-arid lands which are already moisture constrained. The rift valley in Kenya, where most of the lakes are located experience Arid and Semi-Arid climate. The lakes located in this region are tectonic in origin, they are long, narrow, deep and salty except Baringo and Naivasha which are fresh water lakes. Climate change/variability has caused both direct and indirect impacts on lake Baringo and its ecosystem. The direct impacts of extreme climate events (floods and droughts) include fluctuation of lake levels, salinity and aquatic life disturbance. The indirect impacts which are anthropogenic in nature include; silting, soil compaction, illegal abstraction of feeder waters to the lake, change in aquatic species composition and famine. In order to sustainably manage and utilize the waters of lake Baringo, there is need for a serious government policy on illegal water abstractions and massive afforestation of indigenous trees to enhance rainfall regularity.
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