Using seasonal forecast information to strengthen resilience and improve food security in West Africa

Due to variability and climate change, extreme hydroclimatic phenomena such as droughts and floods have become recurrent in West Africa. This greatly affects the main socio-economic sectors such as agriculture and livestock and therefore food security. Forecasts of the characteristics of the rainy season need to be improved to help decision-making. As part of this case study, we will use seasonal climate forecasts and the HYPE hydrological model to predict the different characteristics of the rainy season.

CASE STUDY DESCRIPTION

Issue to be addressed

The rainy season occupies a central place in socio-economic activities in the Sahelian regions, as more than 80% of the population lives on agriculture and livestock. However, extreme hydroclimatic events such as droughts and floods affect these activities. Efforts made in recent years in the production of hydroclimatic information to enhance the resilience of populations have become insufficient, given the variability and climate change. 

Decision support to client

The clients, that are the national hydrology and meteorology departments, the services in charge of risk and disaster management, will receive the information produced, mainly the onset and cessation dates of the rainy season, the discharge of main rivers and the cumulative rainfall. In turn this information will support the decision of dam managers (to better plan dam operations), farmers (to better plan their activities during the rainy season), and society (on the potential risks of floods).

Temporal and spatial scale

The work focuses on seasonal hydrological forecasts, which will be developed before the beginning of the rainy season each year (April). These forecasts will cover the Niger River basin, which has an area of 2 170 000 km2.

Knowledge brokering

The AGRHYMET Regional Centre, in collaboration with ACMAD (African Center of Meteorological Application for Development), organizes the PRESAO (Seasonal Forecast over West Africa) forum for the elaboration of seasonal hydrological forecasts in the beginning of May every year. This forum brings together all the national hydrology and meteorological services, basin organizations and the departments in charge of disaster and risk management. The forum is preceded by a pre-forum in which all actors (purveyors and clients) revisit the tools, methods and data used. Clients also contribute to the production of climate information. Subsequent sessions of opinions and advice on the implications to end users.
Interactions with clients at the regional level is done through bulletins (monthly and special bulletins), warning notes.

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AGRHYMET Regional Centre

Poster displayed at the Kick–Off meeting, 7/8 September 2017, Norrköping, Sweden


Floods caused by the Niger River overflow in 2012