Publication Abstracts

Druyan 2011

Druyan, L.M., 2011: Studies of 21st-century precipitation trends over West Africa. Int. J. Climatol., 31, 1415-1572, doi:10.1002/joc.2180.

West Africa includes a semi-arid zone between the Sahara Desert and the humid Gulf of Guinea coast, approximately between 10°N and 20°N, which is irrigated by summer monsoon rains. This article refers to the region as the Sahel. Rain-fed agriculture is the primary sustenance for Sahel populations, and severe droughts (in the 1970s and 1980s), therefore, have devastating negative societal impacts. The future frequency of Sahel droughts and the evolution of its hydrological balance are therefore of great interest. The article reviews 10 recent research studies that attempt to discover how climate changes will affect the hydrology of the Sahel throughout the 21st century. All 10 studies rely on atmosphere-ocean global climate model (AOGCM) simulations based on a range of greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Many of the simulations are contained in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change archives for Assessment Reports #3 and #4. Two of the studies use AOGCM data to drive regional climate models. Seven studies make projections for the first half of the 21st century and eight studies make projections for the second half. Some studies make projections of wetter conditions and some predict more frequent droughts, and each describes the atmospheric processes associated with its prediction. Only one study projects more frequent droughts before 2050, and that is only for continent-wide degradation in vegetation cover. The challenge to correctly simulate Sahel rainfall decadal trends is particularly daunting because multiple physical mechanisms compete to drive the trend upwards or downwards. A variety of model deficiencies, regarding the simulation of one or more of these physical processes, taints models' climate change projections. Consequently, no consensus emerges regarding the impact of anticipated greenhouse gas forcing on the hydrology of the Sahel in the second half of the 21st century.

Export citation: [ BibTeX ] [ RIS ]

BibTeX Citation

  author={Druyan, L. M.},
  title={Studies of 21st-century precipitation trends over West Africa},
  journal={Int. J. Climatol.},

[ Close ]

RIS Citation

ID  - dr03300x
AU  - Druyan, L. M.
PY  - 2011
TI  - Studies of 21st-century precipitation trends over West Africa
JA  - Int. J. Climatol.
VL  - 31
SP  - 1415
EP  - 1572
DO  - 10.1002/joc.2180
ER  -

[ Close ]

• Return to 2011 Publications

• Return to Publications Homepage