Researchers target West African climate predictions

Dec 09, 2013 by Aeron Haworth
Researchers target West African climate predictions

An international team of scientists have begun a major investigation into the complex meteorology of West Africa including how rapidly increasing air pollution is affecting the monsoon.

The €9 million EU-funded project, involving 16 organisations from six countries, aims to develop new models to enable better weather predictions and longer-term climate projections for the region.

The researchers will investigate the whole chain from the impact of natural and manmade emissions to impacts on climate, ecosystems and health.

"Southern West Africa has witnessed the largest population increase globally in recent years, characterised by massive urbanisation along the coast and agricultural areas immediately following inland," said Professor Hugh Coe, who leads one of the teams within The University of Manchester's School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

"An explosive increase in anthropogenic emissions in the cities from the burning of fossil fuels and biomass, as well as natural emissions from plants, can lead to the formation of solid and liquid aerosol particles. "These can serve as condensation nuclei and change how clouds behave, affecting rainfall and surface heating – a potential regional climate factor largely unquantified. In addition, the massive conversion of natural forests into agricultural land also affects the locally.

"The increase of fine particles in the atmosphere has led to a surge of respiratory diseases in the cities, while high ozone concentrations are more typical for areas downstream and affect the health of the rural population as well as agricultural production and food security."

According to a recent World Bank report, West Africa is one of the regions forecast to suffer most under the impacts of .

"We suspect that the enhanced cloudiness could impact on the entire system," said Professor Peter Knippertz of the Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). "Changes in West Africa can impact remote regions – we know for example that the West Africa monsoon interacts with the Indian monsoon and that it influences Atlantic hurricane activity. The lessons learned from this research will be transferable to other monsoon regions and support policymaking in the development sector."

Professor Knippertz is coordinating the project, known as DACCIWA (Dynamics-aerosol-chemistry-cloud interactions in West Africa, which will run for 4.5 years.

Explore further: Tropical depression 21W forms, Philippines under warnings

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Slow trumps fast in changing the summer monsoon

Dec 24, 2012

(Phys.org)—Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory traced the different ways pollution particles change summer monsoon rainfall in South Asia. They found that pollution's effect through "slow" ...

Saharan dust impacts West African monsoon precipitation

Mar 21, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Africa's Saharan Desert is the largest source of mineral dust in the world, covering more than 3 million square miles and causing dust particles to blanket African skies. According to Pacific ...

Pollution weakens monsoon's might

Jul 25, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Over 1.5 billion people in South Asia depend on the summer monsoon rains. Now, pollution exhaust threatens this primary water source for crops and daily living, according to new research at Pacific ...

Anthropogenic aerosols increasing over India

Nov 05, 2013

Aerosol particles in the Earth's atmosphere scatter and absorb light differently at different wavelengths, thereby affecting the amount of incoming sunlight that reaches the planet's surface and the amount of heat that escapes, ...

Recommended for you

Questions of continental crust

13 hours ago

Geological processes shape the planet Earth and are in many ways essential to our planet's habitability for life. One important geological process is plate tectonics – the drifting, colliding and general ...

Better forecasts for sea ice under climate change

Nov 25, 2014

University of Adelaide-led research will help pinpoint the impact of waves on sea ice, which is vulnerable to climate change, particularly in the Arctic where it is rapidly retreating.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.