Changes in Vegetation and Rainfall over West Africa during the Last Three Decades (1981-2010)

DOI: 10.4236/acs.2015.54028   PDF   HTML   XML   3,513 Downloads   4,310 Views   Citations


The decadal variability of rainfall and vegetation over West Africa have been studied over the last three decades, 1981-1990, 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 denoted as 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, respectively. Climate Research Unit (CRU) monthly precipitation and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), all covering the period 1981-2010 have been used. This study aimed to assess the changes in the land surface condition and the spatio-temporal distribution of rainfall over West Africa region. The relationship between rainfall and vegetation indices over this region was determined using Pearson’s correlation. Also, the decadal comparison between rainfall and NDVI over the region was based on the significant t-test and the Pearson’s correlation. Results showed that significant return to wet conditions is observed between decade 1980s and decade 1990s over West Africa, and also during decade 2000s with the exception of central Benin and the western Nigeria. Meanwhile, a regreening of the central Sahel and Sudano-Sahel regions is noted. From 1990s to 2000s, this regreening belt is located in the South and the coastal areas: the Guinea Coast, Sudano-Guinea and western Sahel regions. A northward displacement of this re-greening belt is also detected. Thus, a linear relationship occurs between rainfall and NDVI in the Sudanian savannah region, but it is not the case in the rest of West Africa. This may suggest that the re-growth of vegetation in the Sudanian savannah region may be linked to rainfall supplies. Therefore, re-greening over Sahel region in 1990s is related to rainfall recovery. However, this re-greening was not sustained in the decade 2000s due to a slight decrease in rainfall.

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Bamba, A. , Dieppois, B. , Konaré, A. , Pellarin, T. , Balogun, A. , Dessay, N. , Kamagaté, B. , Savané, I. and Diédhiou, A. (2015) Changes in Vegetation and Rainfall over West Africa during the Last Three Decades (1981-2010). Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 5, 367-379. doi: 10.4236/acs.2015.54028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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