Climate Context


West Africa has been predicted to be affected heavily by the climate change. By 2020 the temperature is expected to raise by 0,7 degrees (compare that to a human temperature raise with same amount to understand the impact).

The rainfalls are expected to diminish by about 10% in the area and become more sporadic. Thus, the aridity will increase through two factors: less and more sporadic rainfall and more evaporation by high temperatures. This will reflect to the availability of fuelwood (80% of household energy) and creates need to replace fossile fuels by renewable ones.


"Temperatures in West Africa and particularly in the Sahel have changed somewhat faster than the global trend, with increases ranging from 0.2°C to 0.8°C per decade since the late 1970s in the Sahel-Saharan, Sahelian and Sudanian zones (ECOWAS-SWAC/OECD/CILSS, 2008). The observed increase is however more important on minimum temperatures (up to +1°C) than maximum ones (up to + 0.5°C). According to observations on the climate, it appears that Africa has suffered a rise in temperatures of 0.6 to 0.7 °C, faster than the global average. The example of the station of Tillabery, in the Sahelian zone of Niger, constitutes a perfect illustration of this. Since 1980, higher temperatures have increased markedly and have become continuous. The current period 1990 -2007 has been particularly hot (Figure 5). Temperature differences between the current period and the period 1951-1979 have reached + 0,99 °C for average temperatures. The rise in minimum temperatures is +1. 44 °C against +0.53 °C for maximum temperatures (not shown)."

"In addition, this region could experience a warming of about 3 to 6 °C by 2100 according to the emission scenarios, despite its marginal contribution to GHG emissions."

"The IPCC (2007) confirms these perspectives on the continent. In the 21st century, global warming will be greatest in Africa than in the rest of the world. The rise in average temperatures between 1980/99 and 2080/99 will range between 3 and 4°C over the entire continent, i.e., 1.5 times higher than global. This rise would be within +3°C in the coastal areas (Senegal, Guinea Bissau). It will be higher (+ 4°C) in Continental Sahel (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger)."

(source: Climate Change in the Sahel, Agrhymet Regional Centre Monthly Bulletin)