Assessment of the Climate Change Scenario of North Central Nigeria Using Rainfall

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Rhoda Moji Olarenwaju, WMO, Ilorin, Nigeria; and F. O. Fayemi
Manuscript (1.3 MB)


The focus of this paper is on “Assessment of the climate change scenario of north central Nigeria using rainfall” Climate change is a significant change in the state of the climate of a place that can be identified by changes in the mean and/or in the variability of its properties that persists for an extended period of time (IPCC, 2007). One thing that should be the utmost concern of any nation of the world is knowing the vulnerability level of its socio-economic activities to climate change and measures that can be adopted in either coping or mitigating such impacts. Nigeria is an agrarian country and is the most populous country in Africa with an estimated population of 173 billion people. It is thus imperative for a country such as Nigeria to have sustainable agriculture in order to meet the need of her ever growing population. This has been a mirage because economic downturn between population growth and food requirement exist in Nigeria due to unpredictable climate change. Rainfall, the major index of climate change in the tropics is a vital climatic factor that determines vulnerability level of crop production in Nigeria. Extreme of it often results in flooding or drought. The country though blessed with an impressive size of arable land has poor agricultural production that results in food shortage. Climate affects crop yield directly by irregularity in rainfall pattern. The North Central of Nigeria which is the food basket of the nation has suffered flood episodes of diverse magnitudes of recent. This has resulted in the loss of lives, farm lands, and other properties worth of several amount of money. In this study, assessment of the climate change scenario of central Nigeria is studied using rainfall as an index. North Central of Nigeria consists of eight (8) states of which five (5) namely Kogi, Kwara, Kaduna, Plateau and Abuja were randomly sampled for this study. Rainfall data was collected for a period of fifty (50) years which spanned between 1962 and 2012. However for Abuja it covered thirty one (31) years period for which data was available. The data collected on monthly basis was later partitioned on annual basis. Time series and correlation analyses were used to identify trends and the vulnerability levels of each state and hence the North Central region of Nigeria to rainfall vagaries. The results showed increasing trends for all stations except Kaduna. The annual increase in rainfall for Abuja, Ilorin, Jos, and Lokoja stood at 2.34mm, 0.10mm, 0.40mm and 0.62mm respectively. For the whole North central region, a positively significant trend in rainfall with a predicted increase of 0.60mm of rainfall per annum was observed. Various adaptation strategies that can be put in place to safeguard the region from extreme weather events that can emanate from such climatic scenario were suggested. In the states where increase in rainfall is envisaged, farmers are encouraged not to engage in the cultivation of flood plain area but on the cultivation of upland areas. Where flood plain agriculture farming practice is going to be adopted, farmers should concentrate more on the cultivation of water loving crop such as swamp rice and at the same time put every effort in place to combat flood. However in Kaduna State where drought is envisaged, farmers are advised to focus on the planting of drought resistant crops such as cassava and guinea corn.

Key words: Climate change, Drought, Flood, Rainfall, Crop.