BookPDF Available

LIBERIA CLIMATE CHANGE ASSESSMENT

Book

LIBERIA CLIMATE CHANGE ASSESSMENT

A preview of the PDF is not available
... Site map Liberia was selected as the study area for reasons including its designation as a USAID-Feed the Future country, international support and funding for gender equality and poverty alleviation efforts post-civil conflict and Ebola, and national government prioritization of the agricultural sector. The three counties selected are known as Liberia's breadbasket (Perry, 2017) and have been predicted to experience increased environmental stress in the coming years due to climate change (Stanturf et al., 2013(Stanturf et al., , 2015. Additionally, at the time of data collection, Liberia had the first female nationally elected head of an African state, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and had prioritized gender equality and inclusion across the country. ...
... For example, endogenous factors may reflect an individual farmer's access to resources and/or agency, i.e., decision-making power (Defiesta & Rapera, 2014;Perez et al., 2015). Whereas exogenous factors will require that extension services account for variations in the local environmental and social conditions of farmers, such as soil quality dictating locally appropriate crops or social customs that normalize gender inequalities (Moore, 2017;Stanturf et al., 2013Stanturf et al., , 2015. These factors do not exist in isolation and instead function as part of integrated systems that are rooted in particular places. ...
... Enhancing adaptive capacity in agriculture is an essential task in the face of future complex and dynamic challenges, especially for the most vulnerable populations in remote agricultural communities (Engle, 2011;Stanturf et al., 2013). Attempts to build adaptive capacity in Liberia have had to account for the shocks of civil conflict (1989)(1990)(1991)(1992)(1993)(1994)(1995)(1996)(1997)(1998)(1999)(2000)(2001)(2002)(2003) and the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic, and to prepare for future shocks such as climate change and fluctuations in aid funding or government service allocations. ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite significant work to enhance women’s empowerment in agriculture, women remain marginalized across the globe. This includes gender gaps in agricultural extension and advisory service implementation that can lead to inequitable resource and knowledge access by farmers, specifically women. However, gender does not exist in isolation, it is place and time specific. This study investigated the impact of gender and geography on smallholder farmer access to and agency over resources/knowledge. The overarching question we explored was the role that extension providers might play in building farmer adaptive capacity and gender equity. To do so, a mixed-methods approach was used to develop a new multidimensional index from participant responses to 352 surveys and 44 focus groups. The index has four domains that represent farmer’s access to resources, leadership opportunities, household power, and time allocation; it is called the Local Agricultural Potential Index or L-API. The index was applied to a case study setting in rural Liberia due to its designation as a USAID-Feed the future country, and national investment in gender equality and poverty alleviation through agricultural development. Statistical and spatial analysis results indicate that women in Liberia, on average, have lower access to information and communication technology, leadership opportunities, and credit; as well, when compared to their male counter parts, less agency to make decisions at home and in the community. Further, a surprising spatial finding was that rurality did not have a diminishing impact on access. We concluded that the L-API is one example of a process and the resulting tool, informed by locally relevant indicators, to help improve farmer access to and agency over extension services. The L-API is meant to provide a baseline tool to be tailored in different locations based on local needs and can be used as a measure for adaptive capacity.
... In neighboring Liberia, eleven climate models were run for three sites, generating predictions varying from -36% to + 21% (Monrovia), -40% to + 24% (Nimba), and -40% to + 35% (Sapo National Park); Stanturf et. al. [11] conclude "predictions of precipitation in Liberia lack any sense of consistency". The situation in neighboring Guinea is also characterized by limited data; Aguilar et. ...
Article
Full-text available
Sierra Leone on the west coast of Africa has a monsoon-type climate. Reports by politically influential donors regularly state that Sierra Leone is extremely vulnerable to climate change, but the objective evidence backing these statements is often unreported. Predicting the future climate depends on modelling the West African monsoon; unfortunately, current models give conflicting results. Instead, changes in rainfall over the last four decades are examined to see if there are already significant changes. Rainfall records are extremely limited, so the Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station daily data at a spatial resolution of 0.05 degrees was used. In addition to total annual rainfall, the characteristics of the early rainy season (critical for farmers), the length of the rainy season and growing season, and the frequency of extreme events were calculated. There is evidence for a significant reduction in annual rainfall in the northwest. There is only limited support for the widely held belief that the start of the rainy season is becoming more erratic and that extreme events are becoming more common. El-Niño was significant in the southeast. If these trends continue, they will exacerbate the consequences of temperature increases (predicted to be between 1 and 2.6 °C by 2060) and negatively affect the livelihoods and agricultural practices of the rural poor.
... The key indicators qualified for Liberia were CO2e, CY, and temperature. Rainfall did not emerge as an indicator because Liberia is blessed with abundant rainfall [71]. Liberia showed a variability in temperatures and the CO2 emissions were low showing a great variability especially up to 1980 and increased during the last decade. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose This study explores the intersection of gender and place with agricultural extension services to understand disparities in resource and information access and build community resilience in post-conflict Liberia. It emphasizes how such intersections may be further compounded by climate change and provides possible solutions. Methodology Using a community-based research approach, 352 surveys and 44 focus groups were conducted in 22 communities in 3 counties in north-central Liberia. Subsequently, qualitative, quantitative, and spatial analyses were done to explore gender and place-based differences in farmer access to agricultural resources and household agency. Findings Study results show that women farmers have less access to technology, agricultural resources and information; higher, combined productive and domestic, labor burdens; and that farmers of both genders want more female extension officers. Practical Implications This study provides critical data to help effectively target limited expenditures on national extension services to smallholder farmers in post-conflict settings. Further, solutions for practitioners to adaptively mitigate farming challenges enhanced by climate change. Theoretical Implications Studying the intersection among gender, rural isolation and diminished capacity in post-conflict countries will enhance understanding of (extension service) capacity in settings with multiple drivers affecting gender inequalities. Originality Improve the overall understanding of how compounding factors such as gender and place effect extension service access and the ability of farmers to adapt to change, in Liberia and other post-conflict settings.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper the extensive integrations produced for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) are used to examine the relationship between ENSO and monsoons at interannual and decadal time scales. The study begins with an analysis of the monsoon simulation in the twentieth-century integrations. Six of the 18 models were found to have a reasonably realistic representation of monsoon precipitation climatology. For each of these six models SST and anomalous precipitation evolution along the equatorial Pacific during El Niño events display considerable differences when compared to observations. Out of these six models only four [Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model versions 2.0 and 2.1 (GFDL_CM_2.0 and GFDL_CM_2.1), Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) model, and Max Planck Institute ECHAM5 (MPI_ECHAM5)] exhibit a robust ENSO–monsoon contemporaneous teleconnection, including the known inverse relationship between ENSO and rainfall variations over India. Lagged correlations between the all-India rainfall (AIR) index and Niño-3.4 SST reveal that three models represent the timing of the teleconnection, including the spring predictability barrier, which is manifested as the transition from positive to negative correlations prior to the monsoon onset. Furthermore, only one of these three models (GFDL_CM_2.1) captures the observed phase lag with the strongest anticorrelation of SST peaking 2–3 months after the summer monsoon, which is partially attributable to the intensity of the simulated El Niño itself. The authors find that the models that best capture the ENSO–monsoon teleconnection are those that correctly simulate the timing and location of SST and diabatic heating anomalies in the equatorial Pacific and the associated changes to the equatorial Walker circulation during El Niño events. The strength of the AIR-Niño-3.4 SST correlation in the model runs waxes and wanes to some degree on decadal time scales. The overall magnitude and time scale for this decadal modulation in most of the models is similar to that seen in observations. However, there is little consistency in the phase among the realizations, suggesting a lack of predictability of the decadal modulation of the monsoon–ENSO relationship. The analysis was repeated for each of the four models using results from integrations in which the atmospheric CO2 concentration was raised to twice preindustrial values. From these “best” models in the double CO2 simulations there are increases in both the mean monsoon rainfall over the Indian subcontinent (by 5%–25%) and in its interannual variability (5%–10%). For each model the ENSO–monsoon correlation in the global warming runs is very similar to that in the twentieth-century runs, suggesting that the ENSO–monsoon connection will not weaken as global climate warms. This result, though plausible, needs to be taken with some caution because of the diversity in the simulation of ENSO variability in the coupled models that have been analyzed. Implications of the present results for monsoon prediction are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
We discuss approaches to the assessment of vulnerability to climate variability and change and attempt to clarify the relationship between the concepts of vulnerability and adaptation. In search of a robust, policy-relevant framework, we define vulnerability in terms of the capacity of individuals and social groups to respond to, that is, to cope with, recover from or adapt to, any external stress placed on their livelihoods and well-being. The approach that we develop places the social and economic well-being of society at the centre of the analysis, focussing on the socio-economic and institutional constraints that limit the capacity to respond. From this perspective, the vulnerability or security of any group is determined by resource availability and by the entitlement of individuals and groups to call on these resources. We illustrate the application of this approach through the results of field research in coastal Vietnam, highlighting shifting patterns of vulnerability to tropical storm impacts at the household- and community-level in response to the current process of economic renovation and drawing conclusions concerning means of supporting the adaptive response to climate stress. Four priorities for action are identified that would improve the situation of the most exposed members of many communities: poverty reduction; risk-spreading through income diversification; respecting common property management rights; and promoting collective security. A sustainable response, we argue, must also address the underlying causes of social vulnerability, including the inequitable distribution of resources.
Article
Full-text available
Recent observational studies have suggested a role for soil moisture and land-atmosphere coupling in the 15-day westward-propagating mode of intraseasonal variability in the West African monsoon. This hypothesis is investigated with a set of three atmospheric general circulation model experiments. 1) When soil moisture is fully coupled with the atmospheric model, the 15-day mode of land-atmosphere variability is clearly identified. Precipitation anomalies lead soil moisture anomalies by 1-2 days, similar to the results from satellite observations. 2) To assess whether soil moisture is merely a passive response to the precipitation, or an active participant in this mode, the atmospheric model is forced with a 15-day westward-propagating cycle of regional soil moisture anomalies based on the fully coupled mode. Through a reduced surface sensible heat flux, the imposed wet soil anomalies induce negative low-level temperature anomalies and increased pressure (a cool high). An anticyclonic circulation then develops around the region of wet soil, enhancing northward moisture advection and precipitation to the west. Hence, in a coupled framework, this soil moisture-forced precipitation response would provide a self-consistent positive feedback on the westward-propagating soil moisture anomaly and implies an active role for soil moisture. 3) In a final sensitivity experiment, soil moisture is again externally prescribed but with all intraseasonal fluctuations suppressed. In the absence of soil moisture variability there are still pronounced surface sensible heat flux variations, likely due to cloud changes, and the 15-day westward-propagating precipitation signal is still present. However, it is not as coherent as in the previous experiments when interaction with soil moisture was permitted. Further examination of the soil moisture forcing experiment in GCM experiment 2 shows that this precipitation mode becomes phase locked to the imposed soil moisture anomalies. Hence, the 15-day westward-propagating mode in the West African monsoon can exist independently of soil moisture; however, soil moisture and land-atmosphere coupling act to feed back on the atmosphere and further enhance and organize it.
Article
Full-text available
A number of general circulation model (GCM) experiments have shown that changes in vegetation in the Sahel can cause substantial reductions in rainfall. In some studies, the climate sensitivity is large enough to trigger drought of the severity observed since the late 1960s. The extent and intensity of vegetation changes are crucial in determining the magnitude of the atmospheric response in the models. However, there is no accurate historical record of regional vegetation changes extending back to before the drought began. One important driver of vegetation change is land use practice. In this paper the hypothesis that recent changes in land use have been large enough to cause the observed drought is tested. Results from a detailed land use model are used to generate realistic maps of vegetation changes linked to land use. The land use model suggests that cropland coverage in the Sahel has risen from 5% to 14% in the 35 yr prior to 1996. It is estimated that this process of agricultural extensification, coupled with deforestation and other land use changes, translates to a conversion of 4% of the land from tree cover to bare soil over this period. The model predicts further changes in the composition of the land surface by 2015 based on changes in human population (rural and urban), livestock population, rainfall, cereals imports, and farming systems.The impact of land use change on Sahelian climate is assessed using a GCM, forced by the estimates of land use in 1961, 1996, and 2015. Relative to 1961 conditions, simulated rainfall decreases by 4.6% (1996) and 8.7% (2015). The decreases are closely linked to a later onset of the wet season core during July. Once the wet season is well developed, however, the sensitivity of total rainfall to the land surface is greatly reduced, and depends on the sensitivity of synoptic disturbances to the land surface. The results suggest that while the climate of the region is rather sensitive to small changes in albedo and leaf area index, recent historical land use changes are not large enough to have been the principal cause of the Sahel drought. However, the climatic impacts of land use change in the region are likely to increase rapidly in the coming years.
Article
Full-text available
Observations show that rainfall over West Africa is influenced by the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO). A number of mechanisms have been suggested: 1) forcing by equatorial waves; 2) enhanced monsoon moisture supply; and 3) increased African easterly wave (AEW) activity. However, previous observational studies are not able to unambiguously distinguish between cause and effect. Carefully designed model experiments are used to assess these mechanisms. Intraseasonal convective anomalies over West Africa during the summer monsoon season are simulated in an atmosphere-only global circulation model as a response to imposed sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies associated with the MJO over the equatorial warm pool region. 1) Negative SST anomalies stabilize the atmosphere leading to locally reduced convection. The reduced convection leads to negative midtropospheric latent heating anomalies that force dry equatorial waves. These waves propagate eastward (Kelvin wave) and westward (Rossby wave), reaching Africa approximately 10 days later. The associated negative temperature anomalies act to destabilize the atmosphere, resulting in enhanced monsoon convection over West and central Africa. The Rossby waves are found to be the most important component, with associated westward-propagating convective anomalies over West Africa. The eastward-propagating equatorial Kelvin wave also efficiently triggers convection over the eastern Pacific and Central America, consistent with observations. 2) An increase in boundary layer moisture is found to occur as a result of the forced convective anomalies over West Africa rather than a cause. 3) Increased shear on the African easterly jet, leading to increased AEW activity, is also found to occur as a result of the forced convective anomalies in the model.
Article
Full-text available
The relevance of soil moisture (SM) for simulating the interannual climate variability has not been much investigated until recently. Much more attention has been paid on SST anomalies, especially in the Tropics where the El Niño-Southern Oscillation represents the main mode of variability. In the present study, ensembles of atmospheric integrations based on the Action de Recherche Petit Echelle Grande Echelle (ARPEGE) climate model have been performed for two summer seasons: 1987 and 1988, respectively. The aim is to compare the relative impacts of using realistic boundary conditions of SST and SM on the simulated variability of the Asian and African monsoons. Besides control runs with interactive SM, sensitivity tests have been done in which SM is relaxed toward a state-of-the-art SM climatology, either globally or regionally over the monsoon domain. The simulations indicate that the variations of the Asian monsoon between 1987 and 1988 are mainly driven by SST anomalies. This result might be explained by the strong teleconnection with the ENSO and by a weak SM-precipitation feedback over south Asia (Part I of the study). The influence of SM is more obvious over Africa. The model needs both realistic SST and SM boundary conditions to simulate the observed variability of the Sahelian monsoon rainfall. The positive impact of the SM relaxation is not only due to a local mechanism whereby larger surface evaporation leads to larger precipitation. The best results are obtained when the relaxation is applied globally, suggesting that remote SM impacts also contribute to the improved simulation of the precipitation variability. A relationship between the Sahelian rainfall anomalies and the meridional wind anomalies over North Africa points out the possible influence of the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes. The comparison of the low- and midtropospheric anomalies in the various pairs of experiments indicates that SM anomalies can trigger stationary waves over Europe, and thereby promote the intrusion of dry air from the midlatitudes into the Tropics. The study therefore emphasizes the relevance of SM for seasonal climate predictions, at least in summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and shows a dynamical interaction between the Tropics and extratropics.
Article
Systematic biases in gauge-based measurement of precipitation can be substantial. Of the sources of bias, wind-induced undercatch of solid precipitation is by far the largest. A methodology for producing gridded mean monthly catch ratios (CRs) for the adjustment of wind-induced undercatch and wetting losses is developed, which is suitable for application to continental or global gridded precipitation products. The adjustments for wind-induced solid precipitation were estimated using gauge type-specific regression equations from the recent World Meteorological Organization Solid Precipitation Measurement Intercomparison. Wind-induced undercatch of liquid precipitation and wetting losses were estimated using methods employed in previous global bias adjustment efforts. Due to the unique nature of Canada's precipitation measurement network, the Canadian adjustments were determined using more detailed information than for the rest of the domain, and are therefore expected to be more reliable. The gridded gauge adjustment products are designed to be applicable both to climatological estimates and to individual years during the 1979 through 1998 reference period. Application of the CRs to an existing precipitation product yielded an increase in mean annual global terrestrial precipitation of 11.7%. As compared with recent (but more localized) studies that used a similar method to account for wind-induced catch deficiencies, our estimates of wind-induced undercatch are 1.6–7.9% higher on a mean annual basis. Compared to a previous global precipitation bias adjustment effort, our adjusted data set results on average in slightly greater warm season and lower cold season precipitation increases, greater precipitation increases over North America, and lower precipitation increases over Eurasia.
Article
The Hydrological Atmospheric Pilot Experiment in the Sahel (HAPEX-Sahel) was designed to investigate land-atmosphere interactions in the semiarid conditions of southwest Niger. During the intensive observation period (IOP) in 1992, a pronounced mesoscale rainfall gradient developed over the Southern Super Site (SSS). Measurements from a high-resolution rain gauge network indicate that over a distance of 9 km, cumulative rainfall in the final 7 weeks of the wet season (31 July-18 September) ranged from 224 mm in the south to 508 mm in the north. The extreme rainfall gradient is not apparent in other years and evolves through persistent local intensification of convection in passing large-scale storms. This paper assesses the influence of the rainfall variability on the surface and atmosphere, and explores the possibility of a land surface feedback on rainfall at this scale. Soil moisture estimates across the SSS illustrate the importance of rainfall on the water balance and indicate that gradients of soil moisture deficit are likely throughout the IOP. Observations from the three dominant vegetation types reveal the sensitivity of available energy and evaporative fraction to antecedent rainfall. This arises from the high coverage of bare soil and the growth response of Sahelian vegetation to soil moisture. A broad range of evaporation rates are found, while sensible heat fluxes are generally less sensitive to antecedent rainfall. Surface and airborne measurements of temperature and humidity show that rainfall-induced surface variability across the SSS leads to mesoscale gradients in properties of the planetary boundary layer (PBL). On a day with light winds, a thermally induced area of PBL convergence associated with antecedent rainfall conditions is observed. A surface feedback mechanism has been proposed to explain the organization of rainfall on scales of about 10 km. Typical Sahelian surface conditions generate large anomalies of low-level moist static energy following mesoscale rainfall events. This variability influences the development of individual convective cells within subsequent larger-scale disturbances. The anomalous rainfall pattern at the SSS is linked to typical spatial scales of a convective cell and the preferred direction of travel of Sahelian squall lines. This hypothesis is supported by the temporal variability of the rainfall anomalies. Differences in precipitation across the SSS show a pronounced diurnal cycle in phase with PBL anomalies and are largest during periods when surface variability is high. A case study is also presented from an isolated convective storm over the SSS. This highlights the sensitivity of deep convective instabilities to PBL anomalies of the magnitude that were measured throughout the experiment.