IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis

11.2 Africa

Assessment of projected climate changes for Africa:

All of Africa is very likely to warm during this century. The warming is very likely to be larger than the global, annual mean warming throughout the continent and in all seasons, with drier subtropical regions warming more than the moister tropics.

Annual rainfall is likely to decrease in much of Mediterranean Africa and northern Sahara, with the likelihood of a decrease in rainfall increasing as the Mediterranean coast is approached. Rainfall in southern Africa is likely to decrease in much of the winter rainfall region and on western margins. There is likely to be an increase in annual mean rainfall in East Africa. It is uncertain how rainfall in the Sahel, the Guinean Coast and the southern Sahara will evolve in this century.

The MMD models have significant systematic errors in and around Africa (excessive rainfall in the south, southward displacement of the Atlantic Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), insufficient upwelling off the West Coast) making it difficult to assess the consequences for climate projections. The absence of realistic variability in the Sahel in most 20th-century simulations casts some doubt on the reliability of coupled models in this region. Vegetation feedbacks and feedbacks from dust aerosol production are not included in the global models. Possible future land surface modification is also not taken into account in the projections. The extent to which current regional models can successfully downscale precipitation over Africa is unclear, and limitations of empirical downscaling results for Africa are not fully understood. There is insufficient information on which to assess possible changes in the spatial distribution and frequency of tropical cyclones affecting Africa.