Mechanisms Linking Land Use and Regional Climate Changes in West Africa

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 10:35 AM
Guiling Wang1, Kazi F Ahmed1, Miao Yu1, Zhenming JI2 and Jeremy S Pal3, (1)University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, United States, (2)Loyola Marymount University, Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (3)Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Land use land cover change is an important driver for regional climate changes in West Africa due to the strong land-atmosphere coupling. On the other hand, land use is also strongly influenced by climate changes due to the primarily rain-fed agriculture in this region and the relatively low capacity to adapt. It is therefore important that projections for future climate changes or land use changes account for the impact of the feedback between land use and climate. Land use influences regional climate through several different pathways, including changes in surface biogeophysical properties (e.g., surface albedo, Bowen ratio, surface roughness) that have been widely studied, and changes in the dynamic properties of the land surface influencing dust emission. The relative importance of these two pathways is likely to be model dependent and region dependent. In this study the effects of these two pathways will be evaluated and compared, based on results from a modeling framework that includes a regional climate-vegetation model, a crop growth model, an agricultural economics model, and a land use allocation model. This will be conducted in the context of future land use and climate change projections, with the ultimate objective to assess how agricultural land use in West Africa may change driven by climate and socioeconomic changes, and how the resulting land use change may further modify regional climate in the future.