Next Article in Journal
Failure and Redemption of Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR)/Normal Incidence Multifilter Radiometer (NIMFR) Cloud Screening: Contrasting Algorithm Performance at Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) North Slope of Alaska (NSA) and Southern Great Plains (SGP) Sites
Previous Article in Journal
Representation of Extreme Precipitation Events Leading to Opposite Climate Change Signals over the Congo Basin
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Atmosphere 2013, 4(3), 272-298; doi:10.3390/atmos4030272

On the Current and Future Dry Spell Characteristics over Africa

Centre ESCER (Étude et Simulation du Climat à l'Échelle Régionale), University of Quebec at Montreal, 201-President-Kennedy, Montreal, QC H3C3P8, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 June 2013 / Revised: 30 July 2013 / Accepted: 24 August 2013 / Published: 9 September 2013
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [6048 KB, uploaded 25 September 2013]   |  


Changes in precipitation frequency and intensity distribution over Africa will have a direct impact on dry spells and, therefore, will affect various climate sensitive sectors. In this study, the ability of the fifth generation of the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM5) in simulating annual and seasonal dry spell characteristics is assessed for four precipitation thresholds (0.5 mm, 1 mm, 2 mm and 3 mm) over Africa. The dry spell characteristics considered are the number of dry days, number of dry spells and five-year return levels of maximum dry spell durations. The performance errors are assessed by comparing ERA-Interim driven CRCM5 with the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) dataset, for the common 1997–2008 period. Lateral boundary forcing errors, i.e., errors in the CRCM5 simulation created by errors in the driving Canadian Earth System model (CanESM2) data—as well as the added value—of CRCM5 over CanESM2 are also assessed for the current climate. This is followed by an assessment of projected changes to dry spell characteristics for two future climates (2041–2070 and 2071–2100) simulated by both CRCM5 driven by CanESM2 and CanESM2 itself, for Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5. Results suggest that CRCM5 driven by ERA-Interim has a tendency to overestimate the annual mean number of dry days and the five-year return level of the maximum dry spell duration in a majority of the regions while it slightly underestimates the number of dry spells. In general, the CRCM5 performance errors associated with the annual and seasonal dry spell characteristics are found to be larger in magnitude compared to the lateral boundary forcing errors. Projected changes to the dry spell characteristics for the 2041–2070 and 2071–2100 periods, with respect to the 1981–2010 period suggests significant changes in the tropics, with the mean number of dry days and the five-year return levels of maximum dry spell duration increasing, while the mean number of dry spell days decreases. View Full-Text
Keywords: dry spell characteristics; regional climate model; Africa; climate change dry spell characteristics; regional climate model; Africa; climate change

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Bouagila, B.; Sushama, L. On the Current and Future Dry Spell Characteristics over Africa. Atmosphere 2013, 4, 272-298.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Atmosphere EISSN 2073-4433 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top