Model uncertainties in climate change impacts on Sahel precipitation in ensembles of CMIP5 and CMIP6 simulations

Paul-Arthur Monerie, Caroline M. Wainwright, Moussa Sidibe, Akintomide Afolayan Akinsanola
2020 Climate Dynamics  
The impact of climate change on Sahel precipitation suffers from large uncertainties and is strongly model-dependent. In this study, we analyse sources of inter-model spread in Sahel precipitation change by decomposing precipitation into its dynamic and thermodynamic terms, using a large set of climate model simulations. Results highlight that model uncertainty is mostly related to the response of the atmospheric circulation to climate change (dynamic changes), while thermodynamic changes are
more » ... namic changes are less uncertain among climate models. Uncertainties arise mainly because the models simulate different shifts in atmospheric circulation over West Africa in a warmer climate. We linked the changes in atmospheric circulation to the changes in Sea Surface Temperature, emphasising that the Northern hemispheric temperature gradient is primary to explain uncertainties in Sahel precipitation change. Sources of Sahel precipitation uncertainties are shown to be the same in the new generation of climate models (CMIP6) as in the previous generation of models (CMIP5).
doi:10.1007/s00382-020-05332-0 fatcat:cz5ehrlfsfegrow44ukr66us5i