Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Floods in the Sahel: an analysis of anomalies, memory, and anticipatory learning

  • Published:
Climatic Change Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

This study explores the implications of recent extreme rainfall and flood events in the Sahel and the wider West African region for climate change adaptation. Are these events merely a temporal nuisance as suggested by the lingering desertification discourse or will more climatic extremes characterize the region over the next century? After reviewing incidences of severe rainfall and projected future climate variability, the paper examines local flood knowledge and decision-making, drawing upon a case study in Ghana. The data demonstrate that a variety of response strategies to flooding exist; yet, knowledge of and access to climate forecasts and other learning tools are essentially absent. So far, floods have not triggered mass displacement although cumulative environmental deterioration is likely to cause environmental refugees. The paper recommends to lay to rest the desertification narrative, consider the possibility of both floods and droughts, and mobilize local memory for anticipatory learning and practical adaptation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • ACMAD (2007) July-August-September Total Rainfall Forecast PRESAO-10. Updated May 30, 2007. African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development. Available via http://www.acmad.ne/en/climat/PRESAO10-may07_en.pdf. Accessed 17 Sept 2008

  • ACMAD (2008) July-August-September Total Rainfall Forecast PRESAO-10. Updated May 30, 2008. African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development. Available via http://www.acmad.ne/en/climat/PRESAO10-may08_en.pdf. Accessed 17 Sept 2008

  • Adams AM, Evans TG, Mohammed R, Farnsworth J (1997) Socioeconomic stratification by wealth ranking: is it valid? World Dev 25:1165–1172

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Adeel Z (2006) Cited in Mongabay. Looming desertification could spawn millions of environmental refugees: Africa may be able to feed only 25% of its population by 2025. December 14

  • Archer E, Mukhala E, Walker S, Dilley M, Masamvu K (2007) Sustaining agricultural production and food security in Southern Africa: an improved role for climate prediction? Clim Change 83:287–300

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Batterbury S, Warren A (2001) The African Sahel 25 years after the great drought: assessing progress and moving towards new agendas and approaches. Glob Environ Change 11:1–8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Belcher JC, Bates FL (1983) Aftermath of natural disasters: coping through residential mobility. Demogr 7:118–128

    Google Scholar 

  • Biasutti M, Giannini A (2006) Robust sahel drying in response to late 20th century forcings. Geophys Res Lett 33:L11706

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boko M, Niang I, Nyong A, Vodel C, Githeko A, Medany M, Osman-Elasha B, Tabo B, Yanda P (2007) Africa: climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. In: Parry M, Canziani O, Palutikof J, van der Linden P, Hanson C (eds) Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 433–467

    Google Scholar 

  • Boulahya M, Cerda MS, Pratt M, Sponberg K (2005) Climate, communication, and innovative technologies: potential impacts and sustainability of new radio and internet linkages in rural African communities. Clim Change 70:299–310

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brooks N (1998) Climate and history of West Africa. In: Connah G (ed) Transformations in Africa: essays on Africa’s last past. Leicester University Press, London, Washington, pp 139–159

    Google Scholar 

  • Brooks N (2004) Drought in the African Sahel: long term perspectives and future prospects. Working Paper 61, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Norwich, UK

  • Brown O (2007) Eating the dry season: labour mobility as a coping strategy for climate change. Opinions and insights from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Commentary, June

  • Burton I, Kates RW, White GF (1993) The environment of hazard. Guilford, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • CARE (2007) Ghana: CARE begins agricultural recovery, disaster risk reduction in flood-affected northern regions. November 26. Available via http://wwww.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/AMMF-79BDFG?OpenDocument&rc=1&cc=gha. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Chappell A, Agnew CT (2004) Modelling climate change in West African Sahel rainfall (1931–90) as an artifact of changing station locations. Int J Climatol 24:547–554

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Charney J, Stone PH, Quirk WJ (1975) Drought in the Sahara: a biogeophysical feedback mechanism. Science 187:434–435

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Christiansen JH, Hewitson B, Busuioc A, Chen A, Gao X, Held I, Jones R, Kolli RK, Kwon WT, Laprise R, Magaña Rueda V, Mearns L, Menéndez CG, Räisänen J, Rinke A, Sarr A, Whetton P (2007) Regional climate projections: climate change 2007: the physical science basis. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 847–940

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohen SJ (ed) (1997) Mackenzie basin impact study. Final report. Environment Canada, Downsview

  • Cohen S, Neilsen D, Welbourn R (eds) (2004) Expanding the dialogue on climate change & water management in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia. Final report. Available at http://www.ires.ubc.ca. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Cook KH, Vizy EK (2006) Coupled model simulations of the West African monsoon system: 20th century simulations and 21st century predictions. J Climate 19:3681–3703

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • CSE (2005) Contribution à la mise en œuvre du Plan Jaxaay. Evolution de la pluviométrie et de l’occupation des sols dans la Région de Dakar. Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE), Dakar

    Google Scholar 

  • Dai A, Lamb PJ, Trenberth KE, Hulme M, Jones PD, Xie P (2004) Comment: the recent Sahel drought is real. Int J Climatol 24:1323–1331

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dartmouth Flood Observatory (DFO) (2007) 2007 Global register of major flood events. Available via http://www.dartmouth.edu/~floods/Archives/2007sum.htm. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Delaney PL, Shrader E (2000) Gender and post-disaster reconstruction: the case of hurricane Mitch in Honduras and Nicaragua. Draft Report, World Bank, p 58

  • Eklundh L, Olsson L (2003) Vegetation index trends for the African Sahel 1982–1999. Geophys Res Lett 30:1430. doi:10.1029/2002GL016772

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • EM-DAT (2008) Emergency events database. Available via http://www.emdat.be/Database/DisasterList/list.php. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Few R (2003) Flooding, vulnerability and coping strategies: local responses to a global threat. Progr Dev Studies 3(1):43–58

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Few R (2007) Health and climatic hazards: framing social research vulnerability, response and adaptation. Glob Environ Change 17:281–295

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Folland CK, Palmer TN, Parker DE (1986) Sahel rainfall and worldwide sea temperatures, 1901–85. Nature 320:602–607

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giannini A, Saravanan R, Chang P (2003) Ocean forcing of Sahel rainfall on interannual to interdecadal time scales. Science 302:1027–1030

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giannini A, Biasutti M, Held IM, Sobel HS (2008) A global perspective on African climate. Clim Change 90:359–383. doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9396-y

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • GIEWS (2005) Sahel weather and crop situation report, report N°4–15 September 2005. Global information and early warning system on food and agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Available via http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/J6124e/J6124e00.htm. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Glantz MH (1987) Drought and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Glantz MH (ed) Drought and hunger in Africa: denying famine a future. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Government of Ghana (2007) Budget statement for the fiscal year 2008. Ministry of Finance

  • Haarsma RJ, Selten FM, Weber SL, Kliphuis M (2005) Sahel rainfall variability and response to greenhouse warming. Geophys Res Lett 32:L17702. doi:10.1029/2005GL023232

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • HAC (2008) Flood watch update. Humanitarian Aid Commission. August 10. Available via. http://www.unsudanig.org/docs/Flood%20watch%20update_%20Issue%20No.09.pdf. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Hammer T (2004) Desertification and migration: a political ecology of environmental migration in West Africa. In: Unruh JD, Krol MS, Kliot N (eds) Environmental change and its implications for population. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 231–246

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Hampshire K, Randall S (1999) Seasonal labour migration strategies in the Sahel: coping with poverty or optimizing security? Int J Popul Geogr 5:367–385

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haque CE, Zaman MQ (1989) coping with riverbed erosion hazard and displacement in Bangladesh: survival strategies and adjustment. Disasters 13:300–314

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hartill L (2008) Understanding West Africa’s rising food prices. Catholic Relief Services (CRS), April 28. Available via http://wwww.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/SKAI-7E5Q4G?OpenDocument&rc=1&cc=gha. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Held IM, Delworth TL, Lu J, Findell KL, Knutson TR (2005) Simulation of Sahel drought in the 20th and 21st centuries. PNAS 102:17891–17896

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Herrmann SM, Hutchinson CF (2005) The changing contexts of the desertification debate. J Arid Environ 63(3):538–555

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Herrmann SM, Anyamba A, Tucker CJ (2005) Recent trends in vegetation dynamics in the African Sahel and their relationship to climate. Glob Environ Change 15:394–404

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoerling M, Hurrell J, Eischeid J, Phillips A (2006) Detection and attribution of 20th century northern and southern African rainfall change. J Climate 19(16):3989–4008

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hubert P, Bader JC, Bendjoudi H (2005) Un siècle de débits annuels du fleuve Sénégal. Presented at the Montpellier HSM Seminar, Impacts climatiques et anthropiques sur al variabilité en ressources d’eau, Montpellier, 22–24 November

  • Hulme M (1992) International conference on the physical causes of drought and desertification. Disasters 16:185–188

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hulme M (2001) Climatic perspectives on Sahelian desiccation. 1973–1998. Glob Environ Change 11:19–29

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hurrell JW, Hoerling MP (2005) A continent split by climate change: new study projects stronger drought in Southern Africa, more rain in Sahel. News releases, The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs, May 24, 2005. Available at http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2005/hurrell.shtml. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • IDMC (2007) Global statistics, Dec 2007. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Available via http://www.internal-displacement.org/. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • IFRC (2007) Ghana Red Cross: recent floods a good test for disaster preparedness. International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, November 20. Available via http://wwww.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/EDIS-795TR5?OpenDocument&rc=1&cc=gha. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • IFRC (2008) West and Central Africa: flood alert confirmed. International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, July 31. Available via http://www.ifrc.org/docs/news/08/08073103/. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Ingram KT, Roncoli MC, Kirshen PH (2002) Opportunities and constraints for farmers of West Africa to use seasonal precipitation forecasts, with Burkina Faso as a case study. Agric Syst 74:331–339

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • IRI (2005a) Flooding in Dakar, Senegal exacerbates cholera outbreak. The International Research Institute for Climate and Society, University of Columbia, Climate Digest Highlights 8(10):1

    Google Scholar 

  • IRI (2005b) IRA multi model probability forecast for precipitation for September-October-November 2005, issued August 2005. The International Research Institute for Climate and Society, University of Columbia. Available via http://iri.columbia.edu/climate/forecast/net_asmt/2005/aug2005/SON05_Afr_pcp.html. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • IRI (2007) IRA multi model probability forecast for precipitation for July-August-September 2007, issued May 2007. The International Research Institute for Climate and Society, University of Columbia. Available via http://iri.columbia.edu/climate/forecast/net_asmt/2007/may2007/ASO07_Afr_pcp.html. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • IRIN (2007) Global: More extreme weather in poorer countries. Integrated Regional Information Networks, December 11. Available via http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=75810. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • IRIN (2008a) Burkina Faso: urban poor most at risk from high food prices. Integrated Regional Information Networks, July 18. Available via http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=79330. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • IRIN (2008b) Liberia: govt warns Monrovia floods worst in city’s history. Integrated Regional Information Networks, July 21. Available via http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=79364. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • IRIN (2008c) Niger: flood victims continue crowding into city schools. Integrated Regional Information Networks, August 29. Available via www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=80081. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • IRIN (2008d) Togo: thousands displaced from flooding, experts brace for more. Integrated Regional Information Networks, August 6. Available via http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=79675. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Kerr R (2005) Atlantic climate pacemaker for millennia past, decades hence? Science 309:41–42

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kirshen PH, Flitcroft ID (2000) Use of seasonal forecasting to improve agricultural production in West Africa—an institutional analysis of Burkina Faso. Nat Resour Forum 24:184–195

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kliot N (2004) Environmentally induced population movements: their complex sources and consequences. In: Unruh JD, Krol MS, Kliot N (eds) Environmental change and its implications for population migration. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 69–99

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Knight JR, Allan RJ, Folland CK, Vellinga M, Mann ME (2005) A signature of persistent natural thermohaline circulation cycles in observed climate. Geophys Res Lett 32:L20708. doi:10.1029/2005GL024233

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lamb PJ (1982) Persistence of Subsaharan drought. Nature 299:46–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lau KM, Shen SSP, Kim K-M, Wang H (2006) A multimodel study of the twentieth-century simulations of Sahel drought from the 1970s to 1990s. J Geophys Res 111:D07111. doi:10.1029/2005JD006281

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Le Barbé L, Lebel T (1997) Rainfall climatology of the HAPEX-Sahel region during the years 1950–1990. J Hydrol 188–189:43–73

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lebel T, Diedhou A, Laurent H (2003) Seasonal cycle and interannual variability of the Sahelian rainfall ay hydrological scales. J Geophys Res 108(D8):8389. doi:10.1029/2001JD001580

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Le Houerou HH (1977) Man and desertization in the mediterranean region. Ambio 6(6):363–365

    Google Scholar 

  • Lu J, Delworth T (2005) Oceanic forcing of the late 20th century Sahel drought. Geophys Res Lett 32:L22706. doi:10.1029/2005GL023316

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mbow C, Diop A, Diaw AT, Niang CI (2008) Urban sprawl development and flooding in Yeumbeul suburb (Dakar-Senegal). Afr J Environ Sci Technol 2(4):75–88

    Google Scholar 

  • McLeman R, Smit B (2006) Migration as an adaptation to climate change. Clim Change 76:31–53

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mitchell JFB, Johns TC, Ingram W, Lowe JA (2000) The effect of stabilizing the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on global and regional climate change. Geophys Res Lett 27(18):2977–2980

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mortimore MJ, Adams WM (2001) Farmer adaptation, change and ‘crisis’ in the Sahel. Glob Environ Change 11:49–57

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moseley W, Laris P (2008) West African environmental narratives and development-volunteer praxis. Geogr Rev 98(1):59–81

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moser CON (1998) The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies. World Dev 26(1):1–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nicholson S (2005) On the question of “recovery” of the rains in the West African Sahel. J Arid Environ 63:615–641

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nicholson SE, Some B, Kone B (2000) An analysis of recent rainfall conditions in West Africa, including the rainy seasons of the 1997 El Niño and the 1998 La Niña years. J Climate 13:2628–2640

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • OCHA (2008a) Tchad: des inondations dévastatrices ont affecté 30 000 personnes et causé 10 000 sans abris, August 28. Available via http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/KKAA-7HX4DA?OpenDocument. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • OCHA (2008b) 130,000 flood-affected West Africans need continued support. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, September 10. Available via http://wwww.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/LRON-7JCKDU?OpenDocument&rc=1&cc=gha. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • OCHA (2008c) Recent floods in West Africa (as of 02 Sep 08). Available via http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/SHIG-7J5GWJ?OpenDocument&rc=1&cc=gha. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Olsson L (1993) Desertification in Africa—critique and an alternative approach. GeoJournal 31(1):23–32

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Olsson L, Eklundh L, Ardoe J (2005) A recent greening of the Sahel—trends, patterns, and potential causes. J Arid Environ 63:556–566

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ozer P, Erpicum M, Demaré G, Vandiepenbeeck M (2002) The Sahelian drought may have ended the 1990’s: discussion of ‘analysis of a sahelian annual rainfall index from 1896 to 2000; the drought continue’ by L’Hôte et al. Hydrol Sci J 48(3):489–496

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Patt A, Gwata C (2002) effective seasonal climate forecast application: examining constraints for subsistence farmers in Zimbabwe. Glob Environ Change 12:185–195

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Patt A, Suarez P, Gwata C (2005) Effects of seasonal climate forecasts and participatory workshops among subsistence farmers in Zimbabwe. PNAS 102:12623–12628

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Patt A, Ogallo L, Hellmuth M (2007) Learning from 10 years of climate outlook forums in Africa. Science 318:49–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peet R, Watts M (eds) (1996) Liberation ecologies: environment, development and social movements. Routledge, London, p 273

    Google Scholar 

  • Perch-Nielsen SL, Bättig MB, Imboden D (2008) Exploring the link between climate change and migration. Clim Change 91:375–393. doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9416-y

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rain D (1999) Eaters of the dry season: circular labor migration in the West African Sahel. Westview, Boulder, p 266

    Google Scholar 

  • Rasmussen K, Fog B, Madsen JE (2001) Desertification in reverse? Observations from northern Burkina Faso. Glob Environ Change 11:271–282

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reij C, Tappan G, Belemvire A (2005) Changing land management practices and vegetation on the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso (1968–2002). J Arid Environ 63:642–659

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ReliefWeb (2006) Niger: floods—situation map, September 5, 2006. Available via http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/AHAA-6TCTEX?OpenDocument. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Renaud F, Bogardi JJ, Dun O, Warner K (2007) Control, adapt or flee. How to face environmental migration? Interdisciplinary Security ConnecTions 5, UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)

  • Reuters (2006) Floods kill 27, damage 10,000 houses in Sudan, August 23. Available via http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/LZEG-6SXMLM?OpenDocument&rc=1&emid=FL-2006–000123-SDN. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Richter RE (1998) Umweltflüchtlinge in Africa: naturkatastrophen und antropogene Einflüsse als Ursachen. In: Scheffran J, Vogt WR (eds) Kampf um die Natur: Umweltzerstörung und die Lösung ökologischer Konflikte. Primus, Darmstadt, pp 42–73

    Google Scholar 

  • Roncoli C, Ingram K, Kirshen P (2002) Reading the rains: local knowledge and rainfall forecasting among farmers in Burkina Faso. Soc Nat Resour 15:411–430

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roncoli C, Jost C, Kirshen P, Sanon M, Ingram KT, Woodin M, Somé L, Ouattara F, Sanfo BJ, Sia C, Yaka P, Hoogenboom G (2008) From accessing to assessing forecasts: an end-to-end study of participatory climate forecast dissemination in Burkina Faso (West Africa). Clim Change 92:433–460. doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9445-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • SBSTA (2006) Conclusion: Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. UNFCCC 25th Session, Nairobi, Kenya

  • SBSTA (2007) Information on methods and tools for impact vulnerability and adaptation assessments: submissions from Parties—Canada. Oct. 18th, UNFCCC 27th Session, Bali

  • Smith SK, McCarty C (2006) Florida’s 2004 hurricane season: demographic response or recovery? Annual meeting of the Southern Demographic Association Durham, NC, USA

  • Smit B, Wandel J (2006) Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Glob Environ Change 16:282–292

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stern PC, Easterling WE (eds) (1999) Making climate forecasts matter. National Academy Press, Washington DC, p 175

    Google Scholar 

  • Taipei Times (2007) Enter ‘environmental refugees’. Taipei Times, February 6. Available via http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2007/02/06/2003347926. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Tarhule A (2005a) Damaging rainfall and flooding: the other Sahel hazards. Clim Change 72:355–377

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tarhule A (2005b) Climate information for development: an integrated dissemination model. Paper prepared for the 11th general assembly of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in Maputo, Mozambique, 06–10 December

  • Tarhule A, Lamb PJ (2003) Climate research and seasonal forecasting for West Africans: perceptions, dissemination and use? Bull Am Meteorol Soc 84(12):1741–1759

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tippett M, Giannini A (2006) Potentially predictable components of African summer rainfall in a SST-forced GCM simulation. J Climate 19(13):3133–3144

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Toth FL, Hizsnyik E (2008) Managing the inconceivable: participatory assessments of impacts and responses to extreme climate change. Clim Change 91:81–101. doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9425-x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Trenberth KE, Dai A, Rasmussen RM, Parsons DV (2003) The changing character of precipitation. Bull Am Meteorolol Soc 84:1205–1217

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tschakert P (2007) Views from the vulnerable: understanding climatic and other stressors in the Sahel. Glob Environ Change 7:381–396

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tucker CJ, Nicholson SE (1999) Variations in the size of the Sahara desert from 1980 to 1997. Ambio 28:587–591

    Google Scholar 

  • Tucker CJ, Dregne HE, Newcomb WW (1991) Expansion and contraction of the Sahara desert from 1980 to 1990. Science 253:299–301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • UN News Service (2008) Chad: deadly flooding in southern town prompts UN aid assistance, August 23. Available via http://allafrica.com/stories/200808230192.html. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • UNCT (2007) Ghana: situation report on floods, November 2007. UN Country Team in Ghana, December 10. Available via http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/EGUA-79RSAK?OpenDocument&rc=1&emid=FL-2007–000153-GHA. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Van Aalst MK, Cannon T, Burton I (2008) Community level adaptation to climate change: the potential role of participatory community risk assessment. Glob Environ Change 18:165–179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van Apeldoorn JG (1981) Perspectives on drought and famine in Nigeria. George Allen and Unwin, London, p 184

    Google Scholar 

  • Vogel C, Smith J (2002) The politics of scarcity: conceptualising the current food security crisis in southern Africa. S Afr J Sci 98:315–317

    Google Scholar 

  • Washington R, Harrison M, Conway D, Black E, Challinor A, Grimes D, Jones R, Morse A, Kay G, Todd M (2006) African climate change: taking the shorter route. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 87:1355–1366

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • West CT, Roncoli C, Ouattare F (2008) Local perceptions and regional climate trends on the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso. Land Degrad Dev 19:289–304

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • WHO (2008) Floods in West Africa raise major health risks. World Health Organization, August 19. Available via http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2008/pr28/en/index.html. Accessed 29 July 2009

  • Zhang R, Delworth TL (2006) Impact of Atlantic multidecadal oscillations on India/Sahel rainfall and Atlantic hurricanes. Geophys Res Lett 33:L17712. doi:10.1029/2006GL026267

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Petra Tschakert.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tschakert, P., Sagoe, R., Ofori-Darko, G. et al. Floods in the Sahel: an analysis of anomalies, memory, and anticipatory learning. Climatic Change 103, 471–502 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-009-9776-y

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-009-9776-y

Keywords

Navigation