Trend Analysis of the Mean Annual Temperature in Rwanda during the Last Fifty Two Years


Climate change and global warming are widely recognized as the most significant environmental dilemma the world is experiencing today. Recent studies have shown that the Earth’s surface air temperature has increased by 0.6°C - 0.8°C during the 20th century, along with changes in the hydrological cycle. This has alerted the international community and brought great interest to climate scientists leading to several studies on climate trend detection at various scales. This paper examines the long-term modification of the near surface air temperature in Rwanda. Time series of near surface air temperature data for the period ranging from 1958 to 2010 for five weather observatories were collected from the Rwanda National Meteorological Service. Variations and trends of annual mean temperature time series were examined. The cumulative sum charts (CUSUM) and bootstrapping and the sequential version of the Mann Kendall Rank Statistic were used for the detection of abrupt changes. Regression analysis was performed for the trends and the Mann-Kendall Rank Statistic Test was used for the examination of their significance. Statistically significant abrupt changes and trends have been detected. The major change point in the annual mean temperature occurred around 1977-1979. The analysis of the annual mean temperature showed for all observatories a not very significant cooling trend during the period ranging from 1958 to 1977-1979 while a significant warming trend was furthermore observed for the period after the 1977-1979 where Kigali, the Capital of Rwanda, presented the highest values of the slope (0.0455/year) with high value of coefficient of determination (R2 = 0.6798), the Kendall’s tau statistic (M-K = 0.62), the Kendall Score (S = 328) with a two-sided p-value far less than the confidence level α of 5%). This is most likely explained by the growing population and increasing urbanization and industrialization the country has experienced, especially the Capital City Kigali, during the last decades.

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Safari, B. (2012) Trend Analysis of the Mean Annual Temperature in Rwanda during the Last Fifty Two Years. Journal of Environmental Protection, 3, 538-551. doi: 10.4236/jep.2012.36065.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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