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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/13027

Title: The Spatio-Temporal Variability of Rainfall over the Agro-Ecological Zones of Ghana
Authors: Atiah, Winifred A.
Amekudzi, Leonard K.
Quansah, Emmanuel
Preko, Kwasi
Keywords: Rainfall
Agro-Ecological Zones
Issue Date: Jul-2019
Publisher: Atmospheric and Climate Sciences
Citation: Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 2019, 9, 527-544
Abstract: In recent times, Ghana has been reported to be enormously impacted by periodic and protracted rainfall variability which is manifested in the form of droughts, floods, wet and dry spells among others [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. The country greatly depends on rainfall for a manifold of their activities although agriculture, water supply and hydro-electricity production have been a major challenge [6] [7]. For instance, rainfall variability impacts the agro-ecological and growing conditions of crops and livestock. However, the agricultural practices of the country which are very predominantly rain-fed, provide employment to over 70% of citizens and about 28% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) [8] [9]. Recent studies have also highlighted climate variability as the greatest hurdle to the realization of the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1) of reducing poverty and food insecurity in arid and semi-arid regions of developing countries [10]. In Ghana, approximately 70% of the economically active population relies predominantly on agriculture for their livelihoods, however less than 2% of farmed land especially in Northern Ghana is irrigated [11] [12]. In consequence, the greater part of the country’s agricultural production is threatened by rainfall variability. Furthermore, rainfall variability affects the hydroelectric power generation of the country as it forms about 64% of the country’s power source [1] [12]. In practice, rain gauges are the most accessible and relatively reliable means through which ground rainfall could be inferred however, their numbers and distributions are fast deteriorating in the African continent [13] [14]. As a result, studies on rainfall variability especially in West Africa have been given minimal attention compared to other regions considering that the datasets needed for such studies are scarce and only available for the last few decades [15] [16]. Due to this paucity in gauge data in the region, recent studies have explored alternatives such as satellite-based and reanalysis products to perform such related studies in the region [9] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]. In Ghana for instance, [17] analyzed the inter-annual trends and variability of rainfall over the four agro-ecological zones of the country using satellite and reanalysis products. Similarly, [9] also used the Global Precipitation Climatology Center (GPCC) data to analyze the annual and inter-decadal trends and variability of rainfall in the four agro-ecological zones of Ghana during 1901-2010. The African Rainfall Climatology (ARC2) satellite-based rainfall data have been explored to analyze rainfall trends during 1983-2012 in west-central Uganda and parts of equatorial Africa [18]. They found significant declining trends in rainfall in west-central Uganda during the two growing seasons of the region. In addition, [19] explored different gridded satellite precipitation datasets to analyze the trends and variability of rainfall in parts of Africa. The CPC (Climate Prediction Center) Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP) data, which is a combination of gauge and satellite observations, has been applied to examine rainfall variability during 1961-2001 in the eastern African region [21]. This study uses the Climate Hazards Group Infra-red Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS V2) to examine the seasonal and annual trends of rainfall in the four agro-ecological zones in Ghana during 1981-2015. The paper also assesses the performance of the CHIRPS V2 rainfall data over the region as well as reports on the biases in seasonal rainfall amounts which are limited in previous studies. Section two briefly describes the study area and datasets. Section three is dedicated to the methodology whilst Section four presents the results and discussion. The conclusions are presented in Section five.
Description: This article is published in Atmospheric and Climate Sciences and also available at DOI: 10.4236/acs.2019.93034
URI: 10.4236/acs.2019.93034
Appears in Collections:College of Science

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