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Brandeburg University of Technology (BUT) Cottbus (2007)

Climate change detection in Central Africa

Wilberforce, Nana Takyi

Titre : Climate change detection in Central Africa

Messung des Klimawandel in Zentralafrika

Auteur : Wilberforce, Nana Takyi

Université de soutenance : Brandeburg University of Technology (BUT) Cottbus

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2007

Central Africa is a band of land stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Horn of Africa between 18º N 0.75º S and 18º W 44º E. The climate of this region shows a transition zone from the Sahara Desert in the north to the wet tropical Guinean coast and equatorial continental interior in its south. In such transition zones, drought is a common occurrence ; of great concern is the progressive drying of the region from the 1970s and into the 1980s. This thesis aims to investigate whether climate change has occurred in Central Africa in the 2nd half of the 20th century. The reanalysis data from the National Centres for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) was used to analyse trends of temperature and precipitation over Central Africa with the linear regression model and patterns of precipitation using principal component analysis. The results of the trend analyses revealed an average increase in temperature of 0.15K/ decade and an average decrease in precipitation of -91 mm/decade for the period 1948-2004 over the whole study area. A regional trend analysis of box averaged data (2.5° in latitude and longitude) revealed an increased precipitation over the Northern part,” the Sahel”, and a marked decrease in precipitation and an increase in temperature over the Eastern parts of the study areas especially in countries such as Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. To quantify the changes in temperature and precipitation for different climatic periods (1951-1980, 1961-1990 and 1971-2000), 30-year trend analyses were also performed. Results revealed a relatively stable temperature trend and fluctuations in the precipitation trend over the three 30 year climate periods. Principal component analysis produces a decomposition of the data field into spatial patterns (eigenvectors) and a temporal time series describing the temporal importance of these patterns. For precipitation over Central Africa, three patterns stand out for 60.39% of the total variance in the precipitation over Central Africa. The individual principal components explain 37.6%, 12.1%, and 10.7% respectively of the total variance. The first principal component captures progressive drying in Central Africa, the second principal component captures the different seasons within Central Africa and the third principal component captures the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone over Central Africa. Apart from explaining the current precipitation patterns over Central Africa, the use of principal component analysis in this study has demonstrated that a limited number of spatial patterns are basis for African weather, coordinate system for present day climate with maximum variance contribution along the first axis, maximum of the remaining variance along the second axis with subsequent axes explaining less variance can be used to explain precipitation variability within Central Africa. The same method can be used to explain temporal differences between climate change scenarios and present day climate

Mots Clés : Klimawandel ; Temperatur ; Wiederschlaf ; Zentralafrika Central Africa ; Climate Change ; Precipitation ; Temperature


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