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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

 | 
Benjamin Sultan
, 
Richard Lalou
, 
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
, 
et al.

Part I. Recent and future climate change in West Africa. Obvious features, uncertainties and perceptions

Chapter 1. Climate warming observed in the Sahel since 1950

Françoise Guichard, Laurent Kergoat, Frédéric Hourdin, Crystèle Léauthaud, Jessica Barbier, Éric Mougin et Birama Diarra

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Introduction

Research on climate warming has considerably grown over the past three decades or so. However, existing studies in West Africa are focused mainly on precipitation trends, with very little attention paid to the evolution of temperatures. The climate warming observed during the last 60 years is contrasted from one region to another. It is more marked in continental zones and stronger at night than during the day (IPCC, 2013). Until now, most regional studies have concentrated on climate warming in the northern and temperate zones, with much less focus on tropical and semi-arid zones. In West Africa, the very few studies addressing this question are recent and not directly based on in-situ observations but on satellite data, gridded dataset, i. e. data interpolated onto a spatial grid, and meteorological reanalyses (Collins, 2011; Fontaine et al., 2013).

Satellite products do not give direct information about temperature evolution close to the surface, but on an entire atmos...

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