Climatic Change

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 859–872 | Cite as

Changes in African temperature and precipitation associated with degrees of global warming

Article

Abstract

For almost two decades, politicians have been negotiating temperature limits to which anthropogenic global warming should be restricted, and 2 °C has emerged as benchmark for danger. However, there has been a lack of scientific research into the implications of such a change for African climate. This study aims to provide information for mitigation debates; through an examination of temperature and precipitation changes in Africa associated with 1 °C, 2 °C, 3 °C, and 4 °C of global warming. Data from Global Climate Models show little significant precipitation change at 1 °C, then larger anomalies at 2 °C which are strengthened and extended at 3 °C and 4 °C, including a wet signal in East Africa, and dry signals in Southern Africa, the Guinea Coast, and the west of the Sahel. Some of the models project changes with potential for severe societal implications. Despite the uncertainty attached to these projections, they highlight risks associated with 2 °C and beyond. Using these findings as a framework for impact assessment and evaluation, further research has the potential to uncover the implications of global warming for African regions.

Keywords

Indian Ocean Dipole Precipitation Change Rift Valley Fever West African Monsoon Guinea Coast 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Gil Lizcano for technical support, and acknowledge the modelling groups, the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, and the WCRP’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling for their roles in making available the CMIP3 multi-model dataset. Support of this dataset is provided by the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Climate Research LabOxford University Centre for the EnvironmentOxfordUK

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