Projection of vegetation impacts on future droughts over West Africa using a coupled RegCM-CLM-CN-DV

Muhammad Shafqat Mehboob, Yeonjoo Kim, Jaehyeong Lee, Myoung Jin Um, Amir Erfanian, Guiling Wang

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6 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the projected effect of vegetation feedback on drought conditions in West Africa using a regional climate model coupled with the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Land Model, carbon–nitrogen (CN) module, and dynamic vegetation (DV) module (RegCM4.3.4-CLM-CN-DV). The role of vegetation feedback is examined based on simulations with and without the DV module. Simulations from four different global climate models are used as lateral boundary conditions for historical and future periods (historical: 1981–2000; future: 2081–2100). Using the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI), we quantify the frequency, duration, and intensity of droughts over two focal regions of the Sahel and the Guinea Coast in West Africa. With the dynamic vegetation (DV) considered, future droughts are expected to become more prolonged and enhanced over the Sahel. The drought is defined when the SPEI value is lower than the threshold (− 1) in the simulations with DV than those without DV. Over the Guinea Coast, the impact of DV is opposite compared with that over the Sahel. Additionally, we show that the simulated annual leaf area index associates well with annual minimum SPEI with the correlation coefficient up to 0.91, particularly over the Sahel, which is a transition zone, where land–atmosphere feedback is relatively strong. Results signify the importance of vegetation dynamics in predicting future droughts in West Africa, where the biosphere and atmosphere interactions play a significant role in the regional climate regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-668
Number of pages16
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea, which was funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2020R1A2C2007670) and the Internationalization Infra Fund of Yonsei University (2018 Fall semester).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science


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