Climate Dynamics

, Volume 50, Issue 7–8, pp 2335–2353 | Cite as

Potential climate effect of mineral aerosols over West Africa: Part II—contribution of dust and land cover to future climate change

  • Zhenming Ji
  • Guiling Wang
  • Miao Yu
  • Jeremy S. Pal


Mineral dust aerosols are an essential component of climate over West Africa, however, little work has been performed to investigate their contributions to potential climate change. A set of regional climate model experiments with and without mineral dust processes and land cover changes is performed to evaluate their climatic effects under the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 for two global climate models. Results suggest surface warming to be in the range of 4–8 °C by the end of the century (2081–2100) over West Africa with respect to the present day (1981–2000). The presence of mineral dusts dampens the warming by 0.1–1 °C in all seasons. Accounting for changes in land cover enhances the warming over the north of Sahel and dampens it to the south in spring and summer; however, the magnitudes are smaller than those resulting from dusts. Overall dust loadings are projected to increase, with the greatest increase occurring over the Sahara and Sahel in summer. Accounting for land cover changes tends to reduce dust loadings over the southern Sahel. Future precipitation is projected to decrease by 5–40 % in the western Sahara and Sahel and increase by 10–150 % over the eastern Sahel and Guinea Coast in JJA. A dipole pattern of future precipitation changes is attributed to dust effects, with decrease in the north by 5–20 % and increase by 5–20 % in the south. Future changes in land cover result in a noisy non-significant response with a tendency for slight wetting in MAM, JJA, and SON and drying in DJF.


Mineral dust Land cover Climate projection Regional climate modelling West Africa 



This research was supported by funding from U.S. National Science Foundation (Grant Numbers: AGS-1049017, AGS-1049186, AGS-1063986, and AGS-1064008). Computing support was provided by NCAR through HPC resources on Yellowstone.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhenming Ji
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guiling Wang
    • 2
  • Miao Yu
    • 2
  • Jeremy S. Pal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, Frank R. Seaver College of Science and EngineeringLoyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Center for Environmental Sciences and EngineeringUniversity of ConnecticutStorrs MansfieldUSA

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