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Extreme weather events pose risks to the environment and human societies. In East Africa, these events are well-known, reoccurring climate phenomena; however, their impacts and intensity vary across the region and require further study. The East African country of Somalia is highly vulnerable to climatic variability due to its geographic location, which in turn often leads to devastating droughts and floods. The climate impact on human well-being and livelihoods is further exacerbated by the absence of a central government coupled with poverty and civil conflict that can escalate – as currently seen – to famine-level situations and large-scale involuntary human mobility. Yet, the extent to which human mobility (measured by internal displacement) can be attributed to extreme weather events and in turn, whether and to what extent extreme weather events and consequently human mobility can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change, has been largely unexplored. In this talk, I will discuss findings from a study conducted as part of the Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) at IIASA, applying a framework based on probabilistic event attribution of extreme weather events. The study investigates human mobility responses attributed to anthropogenic climate change, exemplifying the state of the art of this method in the context of the East African region. The study shows no attributable link of the April 2020 flood in South Somalia (our case study) to anthropogenic climate change, but scarcity of climate observations in the region reveals a bias towards a lack of a climate change signal.


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