Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Climate change comes to the Sahel

Persistent drought in the Sahel in the 1970s and 1980s was caused by subtle changes in global sea surface temperatures. Now model results show that the direct effect of increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations led to the subsequent recovery.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Sahel precipitation anomalies (10–20° N, 20° W–40° E) for 1979–2008.


  1. Ali, A. & Lebel, T. Int. J. Climatol. 29, 1705–1714 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Dong, B. & Sutton, R. Nature Clim. Change 5, 757–760 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Giannini, A., Saravanan, R. & Chang, P. Science 302, 1027–1030 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Mantell, K. Farmers freed of blame for Sahel drought. (10 October 2003);

  5. Biasutti, M. & Giannini, A. Geophys. Res. Lett. 11, L11706 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Rotstayn, L. & Lohmann, U. J. Clim. 15, 2103–2116 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Held, I. M., Delworth, T. L., Lu, J., Findell, K. & Knutson, T. R. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 102, 17891–17896 (2005).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Giannini, A., Salack, S., Lodoun, T., Ali, A., Gaye, A. T. & Ndiaye, O. Environ. Res. Lett. 8, 024010 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Neelin, J. D., Chou, C. & Su, H. Geophys. Res. Lett. 30, 2275 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Lyon, B. Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L21204 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Rahmstorf, S. et al. Nature Clim. Change 5, 475–480 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Biasutti, M. J. Geophys. Res. 118, 1613–1623 (2013).

    Google Scholar 

  13. Lu, J. & Delworth T. L. Geophys. Res. Lett. 32, L22706 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Trenberth, K. E., Dai, A., Rasmussen, R. M. & Parsons, D. B. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 84, 1205–1217 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Lodoun, T. et al. Environ. Dev. 5, 96–108 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Salack, S., Giannini, A., Diakhaté, M., Gaye, A. T. & Muller, B. Clim. Dynam. 42, 189–201 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alessandra Giannini.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Giannini, A. Climate change comes to the Sahel. Nature Clim Change 5, 720–721 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing