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Later wet seasons with more intense rainfall over Africa under future climate change

Dunning, C., Black, E. and Allan, R. (2018) Later wet seasons with more intense rainfall over Africa under future climate change. Journal of Climate, 31. pp. 9719-9738. ISSN 0894-8755

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0102.1

Abstract/Summary

Changes in the seasonality of precipitation over Africa have high potential for detrimental socio-economic impacts due to high societal dependence upon seasonal rainfall. Here, for the first time we conduct a continental scale analysis of changes in wet season characteristics under the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 climate projection scenarios across an ensemble of CMIP5 models using an objective methodology to determine the onset and cessation of the wet season. A delay in the wet season over West Africa and the Sahel of over 5-10 days on average, and later onset of the wet season over Southern Africa is identified, and associated with increasing strength of the Saharan Heat Low in late boreal summer, and a northward shift in the position of the tropical rain belt over August-December. Over the Horn of Africa rainfall during the `short rains' season is projected to increase by over 100mm on average by the end of the 21st century under an RCP 8.5 scenario. Average rainfall per rainy day is projected to increase, while the number of rainy days in the wet season declines in regions of stable or declining rainfall (West and Southern Africa) and remains constant in Central Africa, where rainfall is projected to increase. Adaptation strategies should account for shorter wet seasons, increasing intensity and decreasing rainfall frequency, which will have implications for crop yields and surface water supplies.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:79325
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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