Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.5194/esd-15-429-2024
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) The perfect storm? Co-occurring climate extremes in East Africa
Author Muheki, D.; Deijns, A.A.J.; Bevacqua, E. ORCID logo ; Messori, G.; Zscheischler, J. ORCID logo ; Thiery, W.
Source Titel Earth System Dynamics
Year 2024
Department CER
Volume 15
Issue 2
Page From 429
Page To 466
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Data and Software links
Abstract Co-occurring extreme climate events exacerbate adverse impacts on humans, the economy, and the environment relative to extremes occurring in isolation. While changes in the frequency of individual extreme events have been researched extensively, changes in their interactions, dependence, and joint occurrence have received far less attention, particularly in the East African region. Here, we analyse the joint occurrence of pairs of the following extremes within the same location and calendar year over East Africa: river floods, droughts, heatwaves, crop failures, wildfires and tropical cyclones. We analyse their co-occurrence on a yearly timescale because some of the climate extremes we consider play out over timescales up to several months. We use bias-adjusted impact simulations under past and future climate conditions from the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP). We find an increase in the area affected by pairs of these extreme events, with the strongest increases for joint heatwaves and wildfires (+940 % by the end of the century under RCP6.0 relative to present day), followed by river floods and heatwaves (+900 %) and river floods and wildfires (+250 %). The projected increase in joint occurrences typically outweighs historical increases even under an aggressive mitigation scenario (RCP2.6). We illustrate that the changes in the joint occurrences are often driven by increases in the probability of one of the events within the pairs, for instance heatwaves. The most affected locations in the East Africa region by these co-occurring events are areas close to the River Nile and parts of the Congo basin. Our results overall highlight that co-occurring extremes will become the norm rather than the exception in East Africa, even under low-end warming scenarios.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Muheki, D., Deijns, A.A.J., Bevacqua, E., Messori, G., Zscheischler, J., Thiery, W. (2024):
The perfect storm? Co-occurring climate extremes in East Africa
Earth Syst. Dynam. 15 (2), 429 - 466 10.5194/esd-15-429-2024