Asymmetric forcing from stratospheric aerosols impacts Sahelian rainfall
IAGP Investigator Jim Haywood
based at the Met Office
publishes his latest research in Nature Climate Change
Using state of the art climate models this latest study shows how the Sahelian droughts of the 1970s-1990s may have been caused, to a much greater degree than previously understood, by significant volcanic eruptions in the Northern Hemisphere. The Sahel is a belt of land that crosses the African continent along the southern border of the Sahara Desert and is described as one of the poorest and most vulnerable regions of the world. Here rainfall is generally low and unpredictable. The detection of this link between volcanic activity and drought could be used by policy-makers and aid organisations to potentially predict, and so limit, the devastating humanitarian impact of prolonged drought in this region.