Trends and Projections of Climatic Extremes in the Black Volta Basin, West Africa: Towards Climate Change Adaptation.

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Fati Aziz, West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land use/Universite d'Abomey Calavi, Hydrology, Abomey Calavi, Benin
The water resources of the Black Volta Basin in West Africa constitute a major resource for the four countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali) that share it. For Burkina Faso and Ghana, the river is the main natural resource around which the development of the diverse sectors of the two economies is built. Whereas Ghana relies heavily on the river for energy, land-locked Burkina Faso continuously develops the water for agricultural purposes. Such important role of the river makes it an element around which there are potential conflicts: either among riparian countries or within the individual countries themselves. This study documents the changes in temperature and precipitation extremes in the Black Volta Basin region for the past (1981-2010) and makes projections for the mid-late 21st century (2051-2080) under two emission scenarios; RCP 2.6 and RCP 8.5. The Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI) temperature- and precipitation-based indices are computed with the RClimdex software. Observed daily records and downscaled CORDEX data of precipitation and maximum and minimum temperatures are used for historical and future trend analysis respectively. In general low emission scenarios show increases in the cold extremes. The region shows a consistent pattern of trends in hot extremes for the 1990’s. An increasing trend in hot extremes is expected in the future under RCP 8.5 while RCP 2.5 shows reductions in hot extremes. Regardless of the emission scenario, projections show more frequent hot nights in the 21st century. Generally, the region shows variability in trends for future extreme precipitation indices with only a few of the trends being statistically significant (5% level). Results obtained provide a basic and first step to understanding how climatic extremes have been changing in the Volta Basin region and gives an idea of what to expect in the future. Such studies will also help in making informed decisions on water management in the basin. The various water users; agriculture, household, industries will be able to prepare adequately and adapt to changes when they have information of the trends of extreme events well ahead of time.