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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Impact of climate change on freshwater availability for Senegal: modeling future changes in
hydroclimatology of the Lake of Guiers

PI: Mouhamadou Sylla (Laboratoire de Physique de l'Atmosphere et de l'Ocean)
U.S. Partner: Jeremy Pal (Loyola Marymount University)
Project Dates: August 2013 to June 2015

This project aims to study climate change effects on the Lake of Guiers, the main freshwater reservoir for Senegal. The water is mostly used for irrigated cropping in the basin and domestic use in Dakar. It is unknown how its hydroclimatology might evolve in the future, but changes in surface runoff over the basin and in the amount of water in the lake could produce significant disturbances for end-users. The researcher in this project will analyze past and present-day climate and water resources, elaborate climate change projections over the lake basin, and produce future scenarios of water resources for the lake. A series of three workshops will be organized at the end of each task to engage, inform, and exchange information with the end-users
As for development impacts, this project will generate a unique dataset in the field of climate change modeling over Senegal. This dataset can serve as input for more high-impact studies beyond the activities included in the project, for example in the fields of health and ecosystems. Policy makers could also use the datasets generated to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies. Thanks to the project's expected results, Senegal’s government will for the first time possess robust short-term (2021-2050) and long-term (2071-2100) projections of the amounts of freshwater available in the lake and thus potable water for domestic use in Dakar. In addition, production of future estimates of surface runoff in the lake basin is a great asset for agricultural policy makers, as these conditions can either depress or favor irrigated cropping. This study will raise awareness for an improved water resources management and stimulate the elaboration of more appropriate adaptation strategies to secure sustainable irrigated agriculture and potable water distribution in the future.
Summary of Recent Activities
During the first quarter of 2014, Dr. Sylla has organized two meetings at Laboratoire de Physique de l’Atmosphere et de l’Ocean to teach students about climate modeling and West African monsoon dynamics. The students were trained how to run a regional climate model, post-process the data, and analyze outputs using the NCAR Command Language (NCL) and the Grid Analysis and Display System (GrADS) graphics tools. In the field, data-gathering at the Lake of Guiers is complete. A student is running quality control checks on the data and examining recent trends in rainfall, lake discharge, evaporation, and other relevant variables. Meanwhile, the near-future climate change models, focusing on the years 2040-2060, are being run.
In the next six months, the project team expects to finalize the climate change experiments and two research articles. At the same time, the hydrological computer model will also be implemented and tested. Once the analysis of recent observed climate condition trends is completed, the project team will conduct surveys in the lake basin, meet with farmers, and discuss the impacts of hydrological changes on their activities. The team also intends to meet with a team of researcher from Cheikh Anta Diop University to discuss how to formalize their collaboration.
Back to PEER Cycle 2 Grant Recipients