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Water 2014, 6(9), 2634-2659; doi:10.3390/w6092634

Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Precipitation over Lake Victoria, East Africa, in the 21st Century

1
Department of Civil Engineering, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 40, bus 2448, Leuven 3001, Belgium
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Makerere University Kampala, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala 00256, Uganda
3
Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, Brussels 1050, Belgium
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 22 August 2014 / Published: 29 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Resources in a Variable and Changing Climate)
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Abstract

Precipitation over Lake Victoria in East Africa greatly influences its water balance. Over 30 million people rely on Lake Victoria for food, potable water, hydropower and transport. Projecting precipitation changes over the lake is vital in dealing with climate change impacts. The past and future precipitation over the lake were assessed using 42 model runs obtained from 26 General Circulation Models (GCMs) of the newest generation in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Two CMIP5 scenarios defined by Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP), namely RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, were used to explore climate change impacts. The daily precipitation over Lake Victoria for the period 1962–2002 was compared with future projections for the 2040s and 2075s. The ability of GCMs to project daily, monthly and annual precipitation over the lake was evaluated based on the mean error, root mean square error and the frequency of occurrence of extreme precipitation. Higher resolution models (grid size <1.5°) simulated monthly variations better than low resolution models (grid size >2.5°). The total annual precipitation is expected to increase by less than 10% for the RCP4.5 scenario and less than 20% for the RCP8.5 scenario over the 21st century, despite the higher (up to 40%) increase in extreme daily intensities. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; precipitation; general circulation models (GCMs); representative concentration pathways (RCP); Lake Victoria climate change; precipitation; general circulation models (GCMs); representative concentration pathways (RCP); Lake Victoria
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Akurut, M.; Willems, P.; Niwagaba, C.B. Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Precipitation over Lake Victoria, East Africa, in the 21st Century. Water 2014, 6, 2634-2659.

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