Friday, July 14, 2017

Impacts of climate change on hydro-meteorological drought over the Volta Basin, West Africa, by P. G. Oguntunde, B. J. Abiodun & G. Lischeid;

Global and Planetary Change, (online July 12, 2017),

Impacts of climate change on hydro-meteorological drought over the Volta Basin, West Africa

Philip G. Oguntunde, Batatunde J. Abiodun, and Gunnar Lischeid


We examined the past and future characteristics of drought over Volta River Basin.
We investigated the coupling between drought and streamflow with wavelets analysis.
A 2–3 month lead time was found between drought indices and stream flow.
Drought area extent is projected to increase by 24% to 34% in the future.
This study may guide policy on strategic and adaptive capacity building in the basin.


This study examines the characteristics of drought in the Volta River Basin (VRB), investigates the influence of drought on the streamflow, and projects the impacts of future climate change on the drought. A combination of observation data and regional climate simulations of past and future climates (1970–2013, 2046–2065, and 2081–2100) were analyzed for the study. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Precipitation and Evapotranspiration (SPEI) were used to characterize drought while the Standardized Runoff Index (SRI) were used to quantify runoff. Results of the study show that the historical pattern of drought is generally consistent with previous studies over the Basin and most part of West Africa. RCA ensemble medians (RMED) give realistic simulations of drought characteristics and area extent over the Basin and the sub-catchments in the past climate. Generally, an increase in drought intensity and spatial extent are projected over VRB for SPEI and SPI, but the magnitude of increase is higher with SPEI than with SPI. Drought frequency (events per decade) may be magnified by a factor of 1.2 (2046–2065) to 1.6 (2081–2100) compared to the present day episodes in the basin. The coupling between streamflow and drought episodes was very strong (P < 0.05) for the 1–16-year band before the 1970 but showed strong correlation all through the time series period for the 4–8-years band. Runoff was highly sensitive to precipitation in the VRB and a 2–3 month time lag was found between drought indices and streamflow in the Volta River Basin. Results of this study may guide policymakers in planning how to minimize the negative impacts of future climate change that could have consequences on agriculture, water resources and energy supply.

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