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

Mary Akurut, Patrick Willems, Charles Niwagaba
2014 Water  
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
more » ... (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. OPEN ACCESS Water 2014, 6 2635
doi:10.3390/w6092634 fatcat:f6ko6arlirbhvmmkphcoukkm3q