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Climate variability alters flood timing across Africa

FicchÌ, A. and Stephens, L. (2019) Climate variability alters flood timing across Africa. Geophysical Research Letters, 46 (15). pp. 8809-8819. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2019GL081988


Modes of climate variability are known to influence rainy season onset, but there is less understanding of how they impact flood timing. We use streamflow reanalysis and gauged observation datasets to examine the influence of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) across sub-Saharan Africa. We find significant changes in flood timing between positive and negative phases of both IOD and ENSO; in some cases the difference in the timing of annual flood events is more than 3 months. Sensitivity to one or other mode of variability differs regionally. Changes in flood timing are larger than variability in rainy season onset reported in the literature, highlighting the need to understand how the hydrological system alters climate variability signals seen in rainy season onset, length and rainfall totals. Our insights into flood timing could support communities who rely on flood-based farming systems to adapt to climate variability.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:85152
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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