Development of a high-resolution gridded daily meteorological dataset over sub-Saharan Africa: Spatial analysis of trends in climate extremes

Nathaniel W. Chaney, Justin Sheffield, Gabriele Villarini, Eric F. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Assessing changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme meteorological events and their impact on water resources, agriculture, and infrastructure is necessary to adequately prepare and adapt to future change. This is a challenge in data-sparse regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, where a lack of high-density and temporally consistent long-term in situ measurements complicates the analysis. To address this, a temporally homogenous and high-temporal- and high-spatial-resolution meteorological dataset is developed over sub-Saharan Africa (5°S-25°N), covering the time period between 1979 and 2005. It is developed by spatially downscaling the National Centers for Environmental Prediction-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP-NCAR) reanalysis to a 0.1° spatial resolution, detecting and correcting for temporal inhomogeneities, and by removing random errors and biases by assimilating quality-controlled and gap-filled Global Summary of the Day (GSOD) in situ measurements. The dataset is then used to determine the statistical significance and magnitude of changes in climate extremes between 1979 and 2005. The results suggest a shift in the distribution of daily maximum and minimum temperatures toward a warmer mean with a faster increase in warm than cold events. Changes in the mean annual precipitation and heavy rainfall events are significant only in regions affected by the Sahel droughts of the 1970s and 1980s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5815-5835
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume27
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Data assimilation
  • Extreme events
  • Time series
  • Trends

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