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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-38
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-38
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 20 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 20 Aug 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).

Intensification of the hydrological cycle expected in West Africa over the 21st century

Stella Todzo1, Adeline Bichet2, and Arona Diedhiou1,2 Stella Todzo et al.
  • 1African Center of Excellence on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture (ACE CCBAD), University Félix Houphouët Boigny, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
  • 2University Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IGE UMR 5001, Grenoble, F-38000, France

Abstract. This study uses the high resolution outputs of the recent CORDEX-AFRICA climate projections to investigate the future changes in different aspects of the hydrological cycle over West Africa. Over the twenty-first century, temperatures in West Africa are expected to increase at a faster rate (+ 0.5 °C per decade) than the global average (+ 0.3 °C per decade), and mean precipitation is expected to increase over the Guinea Coast (+ 0.03 mm/day per decade) but decrease over the Sahel (− 0.005 mm/day per decade). In addition, precipitation is expected to become more intense (+ 0.2 mm/day per decade) and less frequent (− 1.5 days per decade) over the entire West Africa as a results of increasing regional temperature (precipitation intensity increases on average by + 0.35 mm/day per °C and precipitation frequency decreases on average by − 2.2 days per °C). Over the Sahel, the average length of dry spells is also expected to increase with temperature (+ 4 % days per °C), which increases the likelihood for droughts with warming in this sub-region. Hence, the hydrological cycle is expected to increase throughout the twenty-first century over the entire West Africa, on average by + 11 % per °C over the Sahel as a result of increasing precipitation intensity and lengthening of dry spells, and on average by + 3 % per °C over the Guinea Coast as a result of increasing precipitation intensity only.

Stella Todzo et al.
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Short summary
This study uses climate projections over West Africa to investigate the future changes in different aspects of its hydrological cycle. Over the 21st century, temperatures expected to increase at a faster rate (+ 0.5 °C per decade) than the global average (+ 0.3 °C per decade), leading to an intensification of the hydrological cycle on average of + 11 % per °C over the Sahel (more intense precipitation and longer dry spells) and + 3 % per °C over the Guinea Coast (more intense precipitation).
This study uses climate projections over West Africa to investigate the future changes in...
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