Climate change is not a myth

Broadcast meteorologist, Joel Guy Chabata, shares how his love for science and the environment led him to choose an unusual profession.

From a young age I have always been fascinated by science, which led me to choose science subjects in high school. When I was studying for a physics degree at university, I started to feel that a fulfilling career for me would be one where I could practically apply my scientific knowledge and also continue to learn new things. I fell for a career as a meteorologist after a chance field trip to the Zimbabwe National Weather Service. After joining them, and some years of training, the national broadcaster was impressed with my style of presenting and hired me. Since then, I have been focused on building my career as a broadcast meteorologist.

Throughout my career I have seen changes in weather broadcasting technology and graphics. Some of the trends that I have seen are a result of climate change, such as the global average air temperature. This has been rising over the past five decades, with the biggest warming happening in the last thirty or so years. Most years in the 2000s have been the warmest ever.

Due to rising temperatures, glaciers and sea ice near the poles are melting at an increasing rate. The warming climate is also resulting in more frequent and severe droughts and heatwaves. Sea surface temperatures are also on the rise. Although not very conclusive, certain weather phenomena seem to have become more severe, for example tropical cyclones (aka hurricanes or typhoons), tornadoes, as well as winter and summer storms.

While mitigating climate change may seem to be an issue requiring a global effort, individual citizens can all play a part. I have simple measures that I take which not only save money but also help the environment.

  • Use all grey water to water the garden.
  • Reuse or repurpose some items rather than sending them to a garbage dump.
  • Compost kitchen waste instead of buying compost for your plants.
  • Buy products made from recycled materials which tend to be cheaper.
  • Switch off at the plug any electronics not in use, install solar water heaters or put a geyser blanket around your electric geyser to prevent heat loss.
  • Use energy-efficient appliances and install LED or fluorescent light bulbs.
  • With water scarcity prevalent, it is important to conserve water by fixing leaking taps, using a water glass when brushing teeth, taking a shower rather than a bath, and laundering a full load rather than single items in the washing machine.