276510 Climate Variability and Change over the Arid and Semi-Arid lands of Kenya

Monday, 11 January 2016
Jully Odhiambo Ouma, University of Nairobi (UoN) and IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC), Nairobi, Kenya, Kenya; and L. A. Ogallo, G. Ouma, and C. Oludhe

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments have indicated that climate change is real and increase in the atmospheric composition of greenhouse gases associated with global warming is being witnessed worldwide. Extreme temperatures and rainfall patterns are also being experienced in many parts of the world including Eastern Africa. These have been associated with droughts, floods, cold/hot spells, cyclones, among others that have had devastating socio-economic impacts. Thus extreme climate variability and change will in future have serious impacts on future sustainability of our socio-economic system. The objective of this study was to examine the evidence of variability and change over the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, using the past and present patterns of rainfall and temperature extremes.

The data used were obtained from IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) while gridded observations used were from Climate Research Unit (CRU), University of Anglia. ICPAC and CRU data were for the period 1961-2013 and 1901-2013 respectively. The data were subjected to various trend analyses in order to delineate the temporal patterns of rainfall characteristics at specific locations. The trend analyses adopted included graphical, regression, and non-parametric approaches based on Mann-Kendal statistics.

It was evident from the study that both maximum and minimum temperatures are increasing at all locations as have been observed at many locations worldwide. The highest increase in seasonal means of surface air temperature ranging from 0.21-1.5 0C was observed for December-February season. Results from rainfall analyses did not delineate homogenous changing patterns at all locations and seasons. Although decrease/increase in annual climatological mean of rainfall may be observed at a specific locations, both decreasing and increasing trends could be witnessed during the specific seasons. This information can be used in the planning and management of all climate-sensitive socio-economic systems in Kenya and support national sustainable development plans.

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