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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)

Possible causes of the contraction of West Africa’s rainfall season under global warming: implications for agriculture 

PI: David Cudjoe Adukpo, University of Cape Coast
U.S. Partner:  William Gutowski, Jr., Iowa State University
Project Dates: May 2012 - April 2014

Project Overview

In recent years, increasing climate-oriented research is improving our understanding of the changes in the climate and highlighting the possible impacts of these changes all over the world. An example of the manifestation of these changes is in rainfall variability. Observations and research results have shown changes in the onset of the main rainfall season in West Africa, which in turn have an impact on agricultural practices. In many parts of West Africa, rain-fed agriculture is a prominent instrument for economic growth, food security, and poverty reduction (Boko et al., 2007), so future changes in climate may cause significant disturbances. This project will study the possible causes of the reduction in West Africa’s rainfall season and explore the relationship between onset and retreat of rainfall dates in West Africa and climate index interactions using response surface analysis. The project will also study how the variability in rainfall is affecting the present and future maize yield in Ghana, as well as other potential impacts such as hydroelectric power generation and fisheries.
Summary of Recent Activities
During the last three months of 2014, PI David Adukpo and two of his students attended the Capacity Building Workshop on Modeling of Regional Climate and Air Quality for West Africa in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and presented preliminary study results. Researchers and students worked further on two manuscripts, while a third was published in the Research Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Management.
Students visited the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Italy for a week-long training course on how to use climate monitoring services and how to produce suitable research products. Back in Ghana, a retreat was held at the Pempamsie Hotel involving the researchers and the students. The goals of the retreat were to plan the second PEER-University of Cape Coast training workshop, to discuss the students’ thesis methodology, and to discuss and produce their reports.