Rainfall Variability and Changes in Southern Africa during the 20th Century in the Global Warming Context
Source: Natural Hazards, Volume 29, Number 2, June 2003 , pp. 139-154(16)
Rainfall variability and changes in Southern Africa over the 20th century are examined and their potential links to the global warming discussed. After a short review of the main conclusions of various experiments with Global Atmospheric Models (GCM) forced by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases for Southern Africa, a study of various datasets documents the observed changes in rainfall features at both daily and seasonal time steps through the last century. Investigations of daily rainfall parameters are so far limited to South Africa. They show that some regions have experienced a shift toward more extreme rainfall events in recent decades. Investigations of cumulative rainfall anomalies over the summer season do not show any trend to drier or moister conditions during the century. However, close examination reveals that rainfall variability in Southern Africa has experienced significant modifications, especially in the recent decades. Interannual variability has increased since the late 1960s. In particular, droughts became more intense and widespread. More significantly, teleconnection patterns associated with Southern African rainfall variability changed from regional before the 70s to near global after, and an increased statistical association to the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon is observed. Numerical experiments with a French GCM indicate that these changes in teleconnections could be related to long-term variations in the Sea-Surface-Temperature background, which are part of the observed global warming signal.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Centre de Recherches de Climatologie, UMR 5080, CNRS/Universitaé de Bourgogne, Faculté des Sciences Gabriel, 6 Bd. Gabriel, F-21000 Dijon, France, Tel.: 33 (0)3 80 39 38 23; Fax.: 33 (0)3 80 39 57 41; E-mail: email@example.com 2: Centre de Recherches de Climatologie, UMR 5080, CNRS/Universitaé de Bourgogne, Faculté des Sciences Gabriel, 6 Bd. Gabriel, F-21000 Dijon, France 3: Oceanography Dept., University of Cape Town, South Africa
Publication date: 2003-06-01