Modeling the spatiotemporal response of dew point temperature, air temperature and rainfall to land use land cover change over West Africa

Abstract

The study validated the use of an updated MCD12Q1 MODIS Land Use Land Cover (LULC) data into Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and investigated the effects of LULC change on the spatiotemporal pattern of dew point temperature (DPT), temperature, precipitation and some associated parameters over West Africa (WA). Series of WRF model simulations were carried out with 6 LULC scenarios, which include Built-up (Bu), Partial Deforest I and II (PDI/PDII), Partial Afforest (PA), Total Afforest (TA) and Total Deforest (TD). MCD12Q1 LULC data was integrated into WRF model to carry out eight simulations from May–September, 2012 at 12 km horizontal resolution over WA. The integration of updated MODIS LU data into WRF model showed improvement with lesser RMSE. The BU and TD scenario generally decreases dew point temperature while the areas with remarkable decrease (increase) in dew point temperature also have a decrease (increase) in evapotranspiration and an increase (decrease) in Sensible Heat (SH). Increased SH could be a factor for the increased precipitation over the urbanized area. All afforestation options decreased the temperature due to weakening of the SH. Afforestation of the Sahel led to an increase in rainfall, which is attributed to increase in ET. Deforestation of the Guinea zone (PDI/PDII) reduced the precipitation in Sahel and Sahel–Sahara interface and the entire area. Only the TA scenario increased precipitation over the Sahel–Sahara interface due to increased ET. The effects of LULC change on precipitation are complex as more in-depth analysis of the effects on major features of the general circulation of WA is recommended for future research.

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Data availability

The data used for the research are archived in the NCAR HPSS storage and could only be made available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to appreciate the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology (MMM) Laboratory, NCAR, for supporting the research. We would like acknowledge the NCAR’s Computational and Information System Laboratory for providing access to Cheyenne and other computing facilities for the research. Also, many thanks to Ming Chen, Micheal Duda, Mike Dixon and other NCAR staff who gave technical support for this research. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the WACS-GRP FUTA primarily funded this research.

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Correspondence to Ifeanyi Chukwudi Achugbu.

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Achugbu, I.C., Olufayo, A.A., Balogun, I.A. et al. Modeling the spatiotemporal response of dew point temperature, air temperature and rainfall to land use land cover change over West Africa. Model. Earth Syst. Environ. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40808-021-01094-8

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Keywords

  • Land use land cover change (LULCC)
  • Weather research and forecasting (WRF) model
  • Afforest
  • Deforest
  • Rainfall
  • Temperature