Full Length Research Paper
Kajiado County is mainly Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) and as such it is faced with harsh climatic conditions. The county is dominantly inhabited by the Maasai pastoralists who depend on climate-sensitive natural resources for their provisions and production needs. As such, they are faced with low productivity. Therefore, the study investigated historical temperature characteristics combined with surveys on the Maasai pastoralists’ experiences. The study used a mixed-method approach using temperature data along with semi-structured questionnaires. Temperature analysis utilised a mix of ground-based meteorological and satellite data. These temperature data were retrieved from Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) and Climate Hazards Infra-Red Temperature with Stations (CHIRTS) respectively. The climatology analysis from the T-test showed that both the maximum and minimum temperature increased significantly at p < 0.05. A similar temperature rise was noted for spatial analysis where an overall warming trend was observed across the entire county. The Chi-square analysis affirmed the adverse effects of the temperature rise on the Maasai pastoralists as indicated in the growing numbers of heat-related illnesses and deaths in livestock. The resultant social-economic impacts translated to a decline in livestock population pointing up to the need for enhanced preparedness for the warming trends and better prediction models to enhance both societal and ecosystem resilience.
Key words: Temperature, natural resources, pastoral livelihood system, society, ecosystem, resilience, climate risks.
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