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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-319
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-319
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 Jul 2019

18 Jul 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Projected effects of vegetation feedback on drought characteristics of West Africa using a coupled regional land–vegetation–climate model

Muhammad Shafqat Mehboob1, Yeonjoo Kim1, Jaehyeong Lee1, Myoung-Jin Um2, Amir Erfanian3, and Guiling Wang4 Muhammad Shafqat Mehboob et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul, 03722, South Korea
  • 2Department of Civil Engineering, Kyonggi University, Suwon-si Gyeonggi-do, 16227, South Korea
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, 90095, USA
  • 4Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, 06269, USA

Abstract. This study investigates the projected effect of vegetation feedback on drought conditions in West Africa using a regional climate model coupled to the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Land Model, the carbon-nitrogen (CN) module, and the dynamic vegetation (DV) module (RegCM-CLM-CN-DV). The role of vegetation feedback is examined based on simulations with and without the DV module. Simulations from four different global climate models are used as lateral boundary conditions (LBCs) for historical and future periods (i.e., historical: 1981–2000; future: 2081–2100). With utilizing the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), we quantify the duration, frequency, and severity of droughts over the focal regions of the Sahel, the Gulf of Guinea, and the Congo Basin. With the vegetation dynamics being considered, future droughts become more prolonged and enhanced over the Sahel, whereas for the Guinea Gulf and Congo Basin, the trend is opposite. Additionally, we show that simulated annual leaf greenness (i.e., the Leaf Area Index) well-correlates with annual minimum SPEI, particularly over the Sahel, which is a transition zone, where the feedback between land-atmosphere is relatively strong. Furthermore, we note that our findings based on the ensemble mean are varying, but consistent among three different LBCs except for one LBC. Our results signify the importance of vegetation dynamics in predicting future droughts in West Africa, where the biosphere and atmosphere interactions play an important role in the regional climate setup.

Muhammad Shafqat Mehboob et al.

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Interactive discussion

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Status: closed
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Muhammad Shafqat Mehboob et al.

Muhammad Shafqat Mehboob et al.

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