Model uncertainties in climate change impacts on Sahel precipitation in ensembles of CMIP5 and CMIP6 simulations

Paul Arthur Monerie, Caroline M. Wainwright, Moussa Sidibe, Akintomide Afolayan Akinsanola

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The impact of climate change on Sahel precipitation suffers from large uncertainties and is strongly model-dependent. In this study, we analyse sources of inter-model spread in Sahel precipitation change by decomposing precipitation into its dynamic and thermodynamic terms, using a large set of climate model simulations. Results highlight that model uncertainty is mostly related to the response of the atmospheric circulation to climate change (dynamic changes), while thermodynamic changes are less uncertain among climate models. Uncertainties arise mainly because the models simulate different shifts in atmospheric circulation over West Africa in a warmer climate. We linked the changes in atmospheric circulation to the changes in Sea Surface Temperature, emphasising that the Northern hemispheric temperature gradient is primary to explain uncertainties in Sahel precipitation change. Sources of Sahel precipitation uncertainties are shown to be the same in the new generation of climate models (CMIP6) as in the previous generation of models (CMIP5).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1385-1401
    Number of pages17
    JournalClimate Dynamics
    Volume55
    Issue number5-6
    Early online date20 Jun 2020
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Caroline M Wainwright’s contribution has been supported by the NERC/DFID HyCristal project (NE/M020371/1). She is also grateful to the Mars Wrigley Confectionery research team for stimulating discussions on the wider context and applications of this work. Authors thank Dr. Robin Chadwick for his insightful and constructive comments on the precipitation decomposition. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modelling groups for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP the U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. GPCC and GPCP Precipitation data are provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSL, Boulder, Colorado, USA, from their Web site at https://psl.noaa.gov/ .

    Funding Information:
    Caroline M Wainwright?s contribution has been supported by the NERC/DFID HyCristal project (NE/M020371/1). She is also grateful to the Mars Wrigley Confectionery research team for stimulating discussions on the wider context and applications of this work. Authors thank Dr. Robin Chadwick for his insightful and constructive comments on the precipitation decomposition. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme?s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modelling groups for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP the U.S. Department of Energy?s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. GPCC and GPCP Precipitation data are provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSL, Boulder, Colorado, USA, from their Web site at https://psl.noaa.gov/.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2020, The Author(s).

    Copyright:
    Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

    Keywords

    • Atmospheric circulation
    • Climate models
    • Projected changes
    • Uncertainties
    • West Africa

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Atmospheric Science

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Model uncertainties in climate change impacts on Sahel precipitation in ensembles of CMIP5 and CMIP6 simulations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this