#01 2022

SAEON in the media

Arid Lands Node

Dr Helga van der Merwe, acting manager of SAEON’s Arid Lands Node, was cited in an article titled Northern Cape drought takes its toll on young people’s mental health published in Daily Maverick on February 28. The article is the first in a three-part series on Climate Despair.

According to Helga, an arid systems ecologist, complex predictions and modelling indicate that drought will be a major concern for many communities living in arid South Africa in the future due to climate change. Many climate-related trends have been identified in the Karoo and elsewhere in South Africa’s arid zones, which researchers will now investigate further.

“We need more data sets, but we also need to increase the length of data sets before we can get an idea of exactly what is changing over the long term,” Helga explained.

Egagasini Node

Jennifer Veitch, a physical oceanographer at SAEON’s Egagasini Node, was cited in an article titled Recent combo of wave heights, period seen in Cape Town a ‘one-in-twenty-year event’ published in Cape Argus on January 21.

The cause of the unusually high swells seen along the South African coastline has been questioned and many people wondered if the waves were related to recent seismic events near Tonga. However, Jennifer said the Tongan tsunami would not have impacted South Africa’s coastline and it was unlikely that a Pacific tsunami event would impact South Africa as it was well protected, being situated between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

On Wednesday 19 January, a huge swell delivered unusually large and unusually westerly waves to the western seaboard of the Cape Peninsula as well as further up the west coast, which caused people to wonder if this event was linked with the Tongan tsunami that occurred only five days earlier (Photo courtesy of Dr Ken Findlay)

Elwandle Node

The acting manager of SAEON’s Elwandle Node, Dr Shaun Deyzel, was cited in an article titled Red tide found in Algoa Bay published in Herald LIVE on February 10.

“We’re not sure at this stage which species it is, but I know there’s a lot of anxiety as to how dangerous it is, so my team will be going out into the bay tomorrow to sample from the red tide patches,” Shaun said. As a precaution, he advised the local people to avoid consuming shellfish, which can become contaminated by red tide toxins.