Climate variability affects water-energy-food infrastructure performance in East Africa

Siderius, Christian, Kolusu, Seshagiri R, Todd, Martin C, Bhave, Ajay, Dougill, Andy J, Reason, Chris C J, Mkwambisi, David D, Kashaigili, Japhet J, Pardoe, Joanna, Harou, Julien J, Vincent, Katharine, Hart, Neil C G, James, Rachel, Washington, Richard, Geressu, Robel T and Conway, Declan (2021) Climate variability affects water-energy-food infrastructure performance in East Africa. One Earth. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2590-3322

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The need to assess major infrastructure performance under a changing climate is widely recognized yet rarely practiced, particularly in rapidly growing African economies. Here, we consider high-stakes investments across the water, energy, and food sectors for two major river basins in a climate transition zone in Africa. We integrate detailed interpretation of observed and modeled climate-system behavior with hydrological modeling and decision-relevant performance metrics. For the Rufiji River in Tanzania, projected risks for the mid-21st century are similar to those of the present day, but for the Lake Malawi-Shire River, future risk exceeds that experienced during the 20th century. In both basins a repeat of an early-20th century multi-year drought would challenge the viability of proposed infrastructure. A long view, which emphasizes past and future changes in variability, set within a broader context of climate-information interpretation and decision making, is crucial for screening the risk to infrastructure.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2021 08:48
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2021 17:56

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