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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 - November 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
Dr. Adukpo and his colleagues, including U.S. partner William Gutowski, published their most recent joint paper in the June 2014 issue of the International Journal of Geosciences. The paper uses the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Regional Climate Model, Version 3 (RegCM3), and rain gauge data selected from the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) from 1990 to 2008 to investigate the extent and nature of variability in the annual rainfall and pattern of the raining seasons in Ghana. In the study, six meteorological stations selected from three rainfall distribution zones according to the divisions of the GMet were used to study the pattern of rainfall and its departure from the normal trend. The model had difficulty simulating the departures accurately in direction and magnitude for all the stations except for Accra, where RegCM3 simulated them correctly. The findings of the study will contribute valuable information for agriculture and water resources management in Ghana.

Earlier in 2014, several of Dr. Adukpo’s students gave seminar presentations at the Department of Physics as part of their continuous assessments towards the M.Phil degree. They have been working closely with their supervisors to ensure that their work is complete for submission in June 2014 to the School of Research and Graduate Studies of the University of Cape Coast. In September, another of the team’s jointly published papers, “Farmer’s observation on climate change impacts on Maize (Zea mays) production in a selected Agro-Ecological zone in Ghana,” will be presented at the Fifth International Conference of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, to be held in Cuernavaca, Mexico. 

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