Northern Africa: The Impact of Climate Change to 2030 (Selected Countries)
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Model projections available for North Africa indicate a clear increase in temperature over the next 20 years that is expected to continue throughout the 21st century, probably at a rate higher than the estimated global average. Model simulations also suggest a drying trend in the region, particularly along the Mediterranean coast, driven by large decreases expected in summertime precipitation. Because coastal areas historically receive by far the largest amount of rainfall in North Africa, future decreases will likely have a significant and noticeable impact. Precipitation trends in the interior semiarid and arid regions of North Africa are more difficult to predict due to the very small amount of natural precipitation that characterizes these areas. Climate change will induce some variations in precipitation patterns, but the trend is not clear, as some models predict slight increases and others predict slight decreases in annual precipitation amounts.
The Regional Climate Change Index (RCCI) identifies the Mediterranean as a very responsive region to climate change (“Hot-Spot”). Given the ecological and socioeconomic characteristics of the southern Mediterranean countries, the impact of climate change may be more marked than in other regions of the world. Still, most of the predicted impacts in the region are already occurring regardless of climate change (e.g., water stress and desertification). Climate change is expected to exacerbate these trends.
This paper does not represent US Government views.