Comparison of rainy season onset, cessation and duration for Ghana from RegCM4 and GMet Datasets

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Atmospheric and Climate Sciences
The socio-economic sector of West African countries is rain-fed agriculture driven. Information regarding the onset, cessation and duration of the rainy season is thus, very essential. In this paper, a comparison of the onset, cessation and duration of the rainy season has been carried out using simulated rainfall data from the fourth generation Regional Climate Model (RegCM4) and rain gauge measurements from Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet), covering a period of 1998 to 2012. Similar onset and cessation dates were seen in both the simulated and guage rainfall measurements for the various agro-ecological zones, resulting in similar duration of the rainy season. The average duration of the rainy season were less than 200 days for the savannah and coastal zones whereas the duration of the rainy season were beyond 200 days for the forest and transition zones. The bias of these comparisons was less than 30 days and the root mean square error (RMSE) values were less than 15 days for all stations, except Saltpond. The Pearson’s correlation (r) typically ranged between 0.4 and 0.8. However, negative correlations were observed for Tamale in the savannah zone, and the entire coastal zone. These findings are indications that RegCM4 has the potential to clearly simulate the movement of the rain belt, and thus, could fairly determine the onset, cessation and duration of the rainy season. The findings have significant contributions to effective water resource management and food security in Ghana, as the thriving of these sectors depend on the dynamics of the rainfall seasons.
An article published by Atmospheric and Climate Sciences and available at
Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 2016, 6, 300-309