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Climate Change Scenarios for the
Congo Basin
Fulco Ludwig, Andreas Haensler and Paul Scholte
Modelling chain of the project
Observed temperatures and precipitation
Projected changes in annual temperatures
High
emission
scenario
Low
emission
scenario
projected changes for frequency of hot
days and nights
Projected
changes in
seasonal
precipitation
Projected changes in intensity of heavy rainfall events
High
emission
scenario
Low
emission
scenario
Average changes (%) in precipitation, evapo-
transpiration and runoff across the Congo River Basin
Impact of
climate
change on
mean, high
and low river
flows
Climate change impacts on hydrological
cycle
 Changes in run-off mainly depend on changes in rainfall
●As rainfall changes are uncertain run-off changes
are also uncertain
 Run-off and discharge will increase – especially during
the wet season
●River discharge increases – up to 60% - could cause
increased flooding
 Difference between wet and dry season will become
larger
 Especially in the northern and southern parts of the
region lower low flows and more drought are projected
for the future
Climate change impacts on river flow into
five different hydropower dams
Climate change impacts on hydropower
production
More average run-off increases the potential for
energy production from hydropower
●But due to the uncertainties in future run-off this is
not certain
The run-off however will become more variable
this will make dam management more
complicated and energy availability less reliable
Increased peak flow can also affect hydropower
facilities
●For example dam levels have to lowered to cover for
peak flow
●Extreme flows could damage dams and facilities
Climate change impacts on ecosystem
carbon storage
Climate change impacts on agriculture
 Higher CO2 concentrations potentially increases production and
reduce agricultural water use
 Higher temperatures reduces plant growth, cause heat stress
and increase evaporation
 Water stress will increase in the drier parts of the regions
 High temperatures and high humidity make crops sensitive to
diseases
 In the northern and southern plant production will be affected
by more frequent droughts and dry spells
 Locally, agriculture will be affected by high intensive rainfall
events and floods
Agriculture - conclusion
 In the region, water will not become a limiting factor for
agricultural production – with the acceptance of northern
edge of the region (mainly Chad)
 In terms of climate change, temperature increases will
be of more importance than changes in
evapotranspiration and rainfall
Need for adaptation
improve preparedness for extreme weather events
such as droughts and floods
 in the agricultural and energy sector there is a need for
risk spreading by diversification
●grow different crops and also different varieties to reduce
impact of climate variability
●Countries should be careful not to become fully dependent on
hydropower because this makes them too vulnerable to
droughts
 To prevent forest degeneration and erosion there should be
more attention on reforestation and agroforestry
 Programs on food and water security should develop strategies
to manage climate variability so they are prepared for both
dry and wet periods

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Climate Change Scenarios for the Congo Basin

  • 1. Climate Change Scenarios for the Congo Basin Fulco Ludwig, Andreas Haensler and Paul Scholte
  • 2. Modelling chain of the project
  • 4. Projected changes in annual temperatures High emission scenario Low emission scenario
  • 5. projected changes for frequency of hot days and nights
  • 7. Projected changes in intensity of heavy rainfall events High emission scenario Low emission scenario
  • 8. Average changes (%) in precipitation, evapo- transpiration and runoff across the Congo River Basin
  • 9. Impact of climate change on mean, high and low river flows
  • 10. Climate change impacts on hydrological cycle  Changes in run-off mainly depend on changes in rainfall ●As rainfall changes are uncertain run-off changes are also uncertain  Run-off and discharge will increase – especially during the wet season ●River discharge increases – up to 60% - could cause increased flooding  Difference between wet and dry season will become larger  Especially in the northern and southern parts of the region lower low flows and more drought are projected for the future
  • 11. Climate change impacts on river flow into five different hydropower dams
  • 12. Climate change impacts on hydropower production More average run-off increases the potential for energy production from hydropower ●But due to the uncertainties in future run-off this is not certain The run-off however will become more variable this will make dam management more complicated and energy availability less reliable Increased peak flow can also affect hydropower facilities ●For example dam levels have to lowered to cover for peak flow ●Extreme flows could damage dams and facilities
  • 13. Climate change impacts on ecosystem carbon storage
  • 14. Climate change impacts on agriculture  Higher CO2 concentrations potentially increases production and reduce agricultural water use  Higher temperatures reduces plant growth, cause heat stress and increase evaporation  Water stress will increase in the drier parts of the regions  High temperatures and high humidity make crops sensitive to diseases  In the northern and southern plant production will be affected by more frequent droughts and dry spells  Locally, agriculture will be affected by high intensive rainfall events and floods
  • 15. Agriculture - conclusion  In the region, water will not become a limiting factor for agricultural production – with the acceptance of northern edge of the region (mainly Chad)  In terms of climate change, temperature increases will be of more importance than changes in evapotranspiration and rainfall
  • 16. Need for adaptation improve preparedness for extreme weather events such as droughts and floods  in the agricultural and energy sector there is a need for risk spreading by diversification ●grow different crops and also different varieties to reduce impact of climate variability ●Countries should be careful not to become fully dependent on hydropower because this makes them too vulnerable to droughts  To prevent forest degeneration and erosion there should be more attention on reforestation and agroforestry  Programs on food and water security should develop strategies to manage climate variability so they are prepared for both dry and wet periods