Regional scenarios for climate change impacts assessment require finer spatial scales than those provided by global climate models (coarse resolution, about 300x300km). The ENSEMBLES European project (especially the RT3) provides improved regional models, at spatial scales of 50 km square, for both recent past (1989-2007) and future climate scenarios (1970-2050). In collaboration with the AMMA project, a set of RCM simulations has been performed  over the African domain by ENSEMBLES partners.

The available common grid spans 19.8°S to 35.2°N in latitude and 35.2°W to 31.2°E in longitude (152x126 points in latitude per longitude). For few models, the domain is slightly bigger (For ICTP RegCM, this covers the whole African continent).

Fig 3D relief representation of the topography (RCM common 50km grid)

There are two types of simulations:

1)      The Control experiments (ERAINTERIM hereafter): The limited area model (or RCM) is forced at its boundaries by the ERAINTERIM reanalysis (best guess of the observations, which is a mix of simulation and ground measurements, satellite data, boat measurements through complex assimilation mathematical process). Consistent (realistic) external forcing is also applied to the models (greenhouses gases, solar, volcanic, aerosols). All the included models have been run to with the most realistic boundary conditions and external forcing. The experiments span a common period from 1989 to 2007.

2)      The scenario experiments (SRESA1B hereafter). The RCM is forced at its boundaries by a general circulation model (or GCM with a coarser resolution, about 300x300km) forced by the SRESA1B emission scenario

The selected common time period spans 1970-2050.

3)      More details about the experiment and the different models set-up are available on the RT3 website

Note that a webpage depicting the observation datasets available (and the associated caveats) to validate the RCM simulations performed over West Africa within the RT3.5 framewok is available.