Assessing the robustness of projected precipitation changes over central Africa on the basis of a multitude of global and regional climate projections


It is well accepted within the scientific community that a large ensemble of different projections is required to achieve robust climate change information for a specific region. For this purpose we have compiled a state-of-the-art multi-model multi-scenario ensemble of global and regional precipitation projections. This ensemble combines several global projections from the CMIP3 and CMIP5 databases, along with some recently downscaled regional CORDEX-Africa projections. Altogether daily precipitation data from 77 different climate change projections is analysed; separated into 31 projections for a high and 46 for a low emission scenario. We find a robust indication that, independent of the underlying emission scenario, annual total precipitation amounts over the central African region are not likely to change severely in the future. However some robust changes in precipitation characteristics, like the intensification of heavy rainfall events as well as an increase in the number of dry spells during the rainy season are projected for the future. Further analysis shows that over some regions the results of the climate change assessment clearly depend on the size of the analyzed ensemble. This indicates the need of a “large-enough” ensemble of independent climate projections to allow for a reliable climate change assessment.
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