Title: Effects of climate change on hydrology and agricultural potential and land use in the Senegal River basin.
Aim: The aim of the project will be to model the effects of projected climate changes on agriculture and hydrology in the Senegal River basin, as a basis for the development of improved adaptation policies.
The Senegal River basin is situated in West Africa, and a considerable part in the semi-arid Sahel-Sudan zone, which is believed to be particularly sensitive to climate change, both because large areas are agriculturally marginal, due to low rainfall, and because the utilization of climate-dependent natural resources is of great economic importance.
Climate change is likely to have a great impact on both livestock production, rainfed and irrigated agriculture. While the impacts on the productivity of the natural rangelands and rainfed agriculture will be direct and local, effects on irrigated agriculture - and the traditional flood recession agriculture - are dependent on the basin hydrology as a whole. More than ½ million people depend on flood-plain agriculture, and their livelihoods are thus directly affected by changes in river discharge patterns.
The 1996 and 2000 IPCC-reports indicate that a positive trend in rainfall is likely to occur in the coming decades as a consequence of the greenhouse effect. The impacts of increased temperatures, (possibly) a higher rainfall and higher CO2-concentration in the atmosphere on the livelihood of the people in different parts of the basin are likely to be great.
The project will aim at establishing a model, allowing an assessment of the effects on agricultural productivity of likely changes in basin hydrology. The basis will be climate scenarios in combination with an existing distributed hydrological model, established in the context of an ongoing project. By feeding climate scenario data into the hydrological model, scenarios for future river discharge and other variables controlling agricultural production will be produced. This, in turn, will serve as an input to a model, developed as part of the phd-project, for assessing the impacts on land use, net primary productivity of the natural vegetation and crop yield in both rainfed, irrigated and recession agriculture.
The project will involve (1) model development and validation, (2) analysis of climate, hydrological, land use and productivity data in a GIS and (3) field data collection in Senegal.
Contact person: Kjeld Rasmussen, Institute of Geography, e-mail: [email protected]