With current global models projecting climate changes out to 2090-2100, the CCAPS program saw a need to develop a climate projection model for Africa that could provide both better regional data and nearer-term projections to better align with policy planning horizons. CCAPS researchers have designed and run a mid-century climate projection model for Africa based on a derivation of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Using the Texas Advanced Computing Center supercomputer facilities at the University of Texas at Austin, the model produces high-resolution (90-km) projections for climate in Africa in the present day (1981-2000) and in the mid-21st century (2041-2060). Comparing present-day results with mid-century projections, researchers are investigating which regions in Africa are undergoing significant climate change and how the effects will vary within and across countries.
The climate model developed by CCAPS researchers is unique in that it is a regional model focused on Africa, allowing researchers to optimize the model to be more accurate for the African continent than current global models. Also in contrast to global models that project climate in the late 21st century, the CCAPS modeling produces mid-century projections to better align with policy planning horizons. Researchers have thus far produced mid-century projections for a single year mid-century for a range of variables, including growing season, daily temperature change, precipitation change, heat index, extreme weather events such as a number of dry days and extreme rainfall, surface winds, and dust. CCAPS researchers are now using these measures to analyze vulnerability risk, changes in food supply, and other possible effects of climate change that could have security implications.
CCAPS climate modelers are currently working on multi-year simulations to generate data on inter-annual variability at mid-century.