Projected changes in intra-season rainfall characteristics in the Niger River Basin, West Africa

Authors: Uvirkaa Akumaga*, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Global Change, Africa
Keywords: cereal yield;climate change; rainfall; rainfall characteristics; Niger River Basin; West Africa
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Hoover, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The magnitude and timing of seasonal rainfall is vitally important to the health and vitality of key agro-ecological and social-economic systems of the Niger River Basin. Given this unique context, knowledge concerning how climate change is likely to impact future rainfall characteristics and patterns is critically needed for adaptation and mitigation planning. Using nine ensemble bias-corrected climate model projection results under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 (RCP—Representation Concentration Pathway) emissions scenarios at mid-future time period, 2021/2025-2050 from CORDEX dataset; this study provides a comprehensive analysis of the projected changes in rainfall characteristics in three agro-ecological zones of the Niger River Basin. The results show an increase of the average rainfall of about 5%, 10-20% and 10-15% for the Southern Guinea, Northern Guinea and Sahelian zones, respectively, relative to the baseline, 1981/1985-2005. On the other hand, the change in future rainfall intensities are largely significant and the frequency of rainfall at the low, heavy and extreme rainfall events in the future decrease at most of the locations in the Niger River Basin. The results reveal a shift in the future onset/cessation and a shortening of the duration of the rainy season in the Basin. Specifically, the mean date of rainfall onset will be delayed by between 10 and 32 days. The mean onset of cessation will also be delayed by between 10 and 21 days. Finally, it is posited that the projected rainfall changes poses serious risks for food security of the region and may require changes in the cropping pattern and management.

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