Global Change Research and Monitoring in the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountain System (South Africa-Lesotho)


Abdelmonein Mohamed – University of the Free State


Geoffrey Mukwada – University of the Free State

Abdelmonein Mohamed – Afromontane Research Unit

Geoffrey Mukwada – Afromontane Research Unit


Nature has been adversely affected by increasing industrialisation, especially during the later part of the last century, as a result of accelerating technological development, unplanned urbanisation, and incorrect agricultural policies and deforestation, which have contributed to the elevated concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the environment. Greenhouse gas accumulation has an adverse impact on meteorological and hydro-meteorological parameters, particularly temperature. Temperature plays a prominent and well-known role in evaporation, transpiration and changes in water demand, thus significantly affecting both water availability and food security. Therefore, a systematic understanding of temperature is important for fighting food insecurity and household poverty. Variations in temperature are often assessed and characterised through trend analysis. Hence, the objective of this paper is to determine long-term trends in mean monthly maximum and minimum air temperatures for the Maloti-Drakensberg region. The Mann-Kendall, a non-parametric test, was applied to mean air temperature for the 1960 – 2016 period. Gridded maximum and minimum monthly temperature time series data for the study area was downloaded from the KNMI Climate Explorer (available from ). The data were obtained from the Climate Research Unit Time-Series (CRU-TS) at a resolution of 0.5O x 0.5O. A significant rising trend (p < 0.001) was detected with a yearly change in the long-term annual mean maximum and mean minimum temperature by 0.03 OC per annum and 0.01 OC per annum, respectively. This knowledge has important implications for both the state of the environment and livelihoods in the region since it can be useful in planning and policymaking in water resource management, biodiversity conservation, agriculture, tourism and other sectors of the economy within the region.