Climatic Change (2012)

A great deal of political and scientific effort has been spent in order to establish the 2 °C benchmark for dangerous climatic changes, setting the target for climate mitigation policy. Perhaps surprisingly however, given its vulnerability to climate change, there has been little research into the implications of climate change scenarios for Africa.

Research by Rachel James and Richard Washington at the Climate Research Laboratory, Oxford University, UK aims to redress this balance, and inform mitigation debates through examination of the potential temperature and precipitation changes in Africa associated with 1 °C, 2 °C, 3 °C, and 4 °C of global warming.

The global climate models examined show little significant change in precipitation at 1 °C, then larger anomalies at 2 °C which are stronger and more extensive at 3 °C and 4 °C, including a wet signal in East Africa, and dry signals in Southern Africa, the Guinea Coast, and the west of the Sahel. The authors note that these projections, despite their uncertainty, highlight the risks for Africa associated with 2 °C and beyond.