The impacts of climate change on Africa

Mike Hulme, Declan Conway, PM Kelly, Susan Subak, TE Downing

Research output: Working paper


This paper considers the problem of determining future climate change in Africa due to human modification of the global atmosphere. Some of the main conclusions may be summarised as follows: Natural climate variability in Africa, particularly rainfall, is large. This variability can be manifest regionally as severe droughts on yearly time-scales or as more prolonged desiccation over one or more decades. The nature of future climate change for Africa is not known with any great confidence. Climate change scenarios have been constructed here in a systematic manner making clear their assumptions and uncertainties, but it remains impossible to attach specific probabilities to them. There is a paucity of detailed climate change impact case studies for Africa. The level of vulnerability of African societies to climate change depends on their present-day vulnerability which is determined by their economic, political and institutional capabilities. Future demographic changes in Africa and the development path the continent pursues will determine the eventual significance of global warming for Africa. The scope for alternative African emissions trajectories to significantly alter global warming rates over the next 100 yr is very limited.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages60
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Publication series

NameWorking Paper - Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment
PublisherCentre for Soc. Econ. Res. on the Global Environment
ISSN (Print)0967-8875


  • anthropogenic emission
  • climate change
  • developing region
  • forecast problem
  • global warming
  • human impact
  • man-environment relations
  • rainfall variability
  • uncertainty
  • vulnerability
  • Africa

Cite this