Effects of the 1.5 and 2 degrees of global warming on the African climate

An overview of the potential effects of 1.5 and 2ºC global warming levels on the African climate will be presented by Grigory Nikulin as a highlighted talk at the European Geophysical Union General Assembly 2018, in Vienna.

“There is a general lack of information about the potential effects of 1.5, 2 or more degrees of global warming on the regional climates within Africa,” Grigory Nikulin says, “and most studies that address this issue use data from coarse resolution global models. In addition to global models we focus on the use of a large ensemble of higher-resolution regional climate models (CORDEX) to elucidate the regional and local scale climate responses to various global warming levels.” 

Impact on African climate

Analysis shows a robust regional warming exceeding the mean global warming over most of Africa.

“The strongest warming is found in the subtropics, whereas the weakest one in many coastal regions due to the effect of slower warming ocean,” Grigory Nikulin says.

There is a tendency towards an increase in annual mean precipitation in parts of Africa (e.g. central/eastern Sahel and eastern Africa) at both global warming levels, but uncertainties are large as the individual simulations do not agree on a sign of the change.

“In contrast to mean precipitation there is a consistent increase in daily precipitation intensity of wet days over large fraction of tropical Africa emerging already at 1.5ºC global warming level and strengthening at 2ºC. A consistent difference between the 2 and 1.5ºC is also found for annual mean temperature and daily precipitation intensity. Our study indicates that a 0.5 ºC further warming can indeed produce a robust change in some aspects of the African climate and its extremes,” Grigory Nikulin stresses.

Results produced within CORDEX

The results presented at EGU2018 were produced within the CORDEX-Africa Analysis Campaign Phase2 focusing on writing peer-reviewed papers for the IPCC 1.5 Special Report (SR1.5). The first six papers produced have all been accepted for publication and will be included in the IPCC SR1.5.

The Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) was set up by the World Climate Research Programme(WCRP) to coordinate Regional Climate Downscaling and provide high-resolution regional climate projections.

All CORDEX Africa simulations are available through CORDEX/Earth System Grid Federation, ESGF.