Exploring evapotranspiration dynamics over Sub-Sahara Africa (2000–2014)

  • Christopher E. Ndehedehe
  • Onuwa Okwuashi
  • Vagner G. Ferreira
  • Nathan O. Agutu


Monitoring changes in evapotranspiration (ET) is useful in the management of water resources in irrigated agricultural landscapes and in the assessment of crop stress and vegetation conditions of drought-vulnerable regions. Information on the impacts of climate variability on ET dynamics is profitable in developing water management adaptation strategies. Such impacts, however, are generally unreported and not conclusively determined in some regions. In this study, changes in MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)-derived ET (2000–2014) over large proportions of Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) are explored. The multivariate analyses of ET over SSA showed that four leading modes of observed dynamics in ET, accounting for about 90% of the total variability, emanated mostly from some sections of the Sudano-Sahel and Congo basin. Based on Man-Kendall’s statistics, significant positive trends (α = 0.05) in ET over the Central African Republic and most parts of the Sahel region were observed. Over much of the Congo basin nonetheless, ET showed significant (α = 0.05) distributions of widespread negative trends. These trends in ET were rather found to be consistent with observed changes in model soil moisture but not in all locations, perhaps due to inconsistent trends in maximum rainfall and land surface temperature. However, the results of spatio-temporal drought analysis confirm that the extensive ET losses in the Congo basin were somewhat induced by soil moisture deficits. Amidst other prominent drivers of ET, the dynamics of ET over the terrestrial ecosystems of SSA appear to be a more complex phenomenon that may transcend natural climate variations.


Evapotranspiration Rainfall Drought Temperature Congo basin Soil moisture 



The authors are grateful to CSR, NOAA, and NASA for all the data used in this study. They also thank the Editor and the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.

Funding information

Christopher E. Ndehedehe received funding from Curtin University through the CSIRS programme, which supported his research during the period when part of this study was undertaken.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Rivers InstituteGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia
  2. 2.Griffith School of Environment and ScienceGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Spatial SciencesCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Geo-Informatics and SurveyingUniversity of UyoUyoNigeria
  5. 5.School of Earth Sciences and EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina

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