EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Future compound climate extremes and exposed population in Africa

Torsten Weber1, Paul Bowyer1, Diana Rechid1, Susanne Pfeifer1, Francesca Raffaele2, Armelle Reca Remedio1, Claas Teichmann2, and Daniela Jacob1
Torsten Weber et al.
  • 1Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Hamburg, Germany (
  • 2Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy (

The African population is already exposed to climate extremes such as droughts, heat waves and extreme precipitation, which cause damage to agriculture and infrastructure, and affect people's well-being. However, the simultaneous or sequential occurrence of two single climate extremes (compound event) has a more severe impact on the population and economy than single climate extremes. This circumstance is exacerbated by the increase in the African population, which is expected to double by the middle of this century according to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Currently, little is known about the potential future change in the occurrence of compound climate extremes and population exposed to these events in Africa. This knowledge is however needed by stakeholder and decision makers to develop measures for adaptation.

This research analyzes the occurrence of compound climate extremes such as droughts, heat waves and extreme precipitation in Africa under two different emission scenarios for the end of the century. For the analysis, we applied regional climate projections from the newly performed Coordinated Output for Regional Evaluations (CORE) embedded in the WCRP Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) Framework for Africa at a grid spacing of 25 km, and spatial maps of population projections derived from two different Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). In order to take into account a low and a high emission scenario, the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 2.6 and 8.5 were used in the regional climate projections.

We will show that compound climate extremes are projected to be more frequent in Africa under the high emission scenario at the end of the century, and an increase in total exposure is primarily expected for West Africa, Central-East Africa and South-East Africa. Furthermore, combined impacts of population growth and increase in frequencies of compound extremes play an important role in the change of total exposure.

How to cite: Weber, T., Bowyer, P., Rechid, D., Pfeifer, S., Raffaele, F., Remedio, A. R., Teichmann, C., and Jacob, D.: Future compound climate extremes and exposed population in Africa, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9517,, 2020.


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