Impact of land use change on the regional climate of Mount Kilimanjaro

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Thursday, 21 January 2010: 1:45 PM
B216 (GWCC)
Jonathan G. Fairman Jr., Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; and U. S. Nair and S. A. Christopher

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Prior studies show that land use change in low land areas impact temperature, moisture, cloud and precipitation at upwind locations in an orographic setting. This study examines similar impacts of deforestation over Mt. Kilimanjaro in east Africa. Initial, idealized mesoscale numerical modeling experiments suggest that Mt. Kilimanjaro may not often offer obstruction to the atmospheric flow and thus “flow-around-regime” may occur frequently as opposed to “flow-over-regime”. Thus topographically generated convection may be as or more relevant than cloud formation due to direct topographical lifting of air. In this context, land use change has the potential to impact the regional climate of Kilimanjaro.

We have run the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS v. 6.0) over the Mount Kilimanjaro area for one month, from July 1, 2007 to July 31, 2007, from resolutions of 64 kilometers at the regional scale to 1 kilometer over the Kilimanjaro massif. These simulations take into account three different land use scenarios: the current-day, a hypothetical completely deforested case, and a hypothesized reforested case. This study presents results from these modeling simulations with focus on changes at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro caused by changes land use in the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro.