The El Niño - La Niña cycle and recent trends in supply and demand of net primary productivity in African drylands

A.M. Abdi, A. Vrieling, G.T. Yengoh, A. Anyamba, J.W. Seaquist, C.C. Ummenhofer, J. Ardö

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Inter-annual climatic variability over a large portion of sub-Saharan Africa is under the influence of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Extreme variability in climate is a threat to rural livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa, yet the role of ENSO in the balance between supply and demand of net primary productivity (NPP) over this region is unclear. Here, we analyze the impact of ENSO on this balance in a spatially explicit framework using gridded population data from the WorldPop project, satellite-derived data on NPP supply, and statistical data from the United Nations. Our analyses demonstrate that between 2000 and 2013 fluctuations in the supply of NPP associated with moderate ENSO events average ± 2.8 g C m−2 yr.−1 across sub-Saharan drylands. The greatest sensitivity is in arid Southern Africa where a + 1 °C change in the Niño-3.4 sea surface temperature index is associated with a mean change in NPP supply of −6.6 g C m−2 yr.−1. Concurrently, the population-driven trend in NPP demand averages 3.5 g C m−2 yr.−1 over the entire region with densely populated urban areas exhibiting the highest mean demand for NPP. Our findings highlight the importance of accounting for the role ENSO plays in modulating the balance between supply and demand of NPP in sub-Saharan drylands. An important implication of these findings is that increase in NPP demand for socio-economic metabolism must be taken into account within the context of climate-modulated supply.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-125
Number of pages15
JournalClimatic change
Volume138
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2016

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Southern Oscillation
productivity
supply and demand
trend
statistical data
climate
United Nations
sea surface temperature
urban area
metabolism
demand
Africa

Keywords

  • METIS-317254
  • ITC-ISI-JOURNAL-ARTICLE

Cite this

Abdi, A.M. ; Vrieling, A. ; Yengoh, G.T. ; Anyamba, A. ; Seaquist, J.W. ; Ummenhofer, C.C. ; Ardö, J. / The El Niño - La Niña cycle and recent trends in supply and demand of net primary productivity in African drylands. In: Climatic change. 2016 ; Vol. 138, No. 1. pp. 111-125.
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The El Niño - La Niña cycle and recent trends in supply and demand of net primary productivity in African drylands. / Abdi, A.M.; Vrieling, A.; Yengoh, G.T.; Anyamba, A.; Seaquist, J.W.; Ummenhofer, C.C.; Ardö, J.

In: Climatic change, Vol. 138, No. 1, 20.07.2016, p. 111-125.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - The El Niño - La Niña cycle and recent trends in supply and demand of net primary productivity in African drylands

AU - Abdi, A.M.

AU - Vrieling, A.

AU - Yengoh, G.T.

AU - Anyamba, A.

AU - Seaquist, J.W.

AU - Ummenhofer, C.C.

AU - Ardö, J.

PY - 2016/7/20

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N2 - Inter-annual climatic variability over a large portion of sub-Saharan Africa is under the influence of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Extreme variability in climate is a threat to rural livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa, yet the role of ENSO in the balance between supply and demand of net primary productivity (NPP) over this region is unclear. Here, we analyze the impact of ENSO on this balance in a spatially explicit framework using gridded population data from the WorldPop project, satellite-derived data on NPP supply, and statistical data from the United Nations. Our analyses demonstrate that between 2000 and 2013 fluctuations in the supply of NPP associated with moderate ENSO events average ± 2.8 g C m−2 yr.−1 across sub-Saharan drylands. The greatest sensitivity is in arid Southern Africa where a + 1 °C change in the Niño-3.4 sea surface temperature index is associated with a mean change in NPP supply of −6.6 g C m−2 yr.−1. Concurrently, the population-driven trend in NPP demand averages 3.5 g C m−2 yr.−1 over the entire region with densely populated urban areas exhibiting the highest mean demand for NPP. Our findings highlight the importance of accounting for the role ENSO plays in modulating the balance between supply and demand of NPP in sub-Saharan drylands. An important implication of these findings is that increase in NPP demand for socio-economic metabolism must be taken into account within the context of climate-modulated supply.

AB - Inter-annual climatic variability over a large portion of sub-Saharan Africa is under the influence of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Extreme variability in climate is a threat to rural livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa, yet the role of ENSO in the balance between supply and demand of net primary productivity (NPP) over this region is unclear. Here, we analyze the impact of ENSO on this balance in a spatially explicit framework using gridded population data from the WorldPop project, satellite-derived data on NPP supply, and statistical data from the United Nations. Our analyses demonstrate that between 2000 and 2013 fluctuations in the supply of NPP associated with moderate ENSO events average ± 2.8 g C m−2 yr.−1 across sub-Saharan drylands. The greatest sensitivity is in arid Southern Africa where a + 1 °C change in the Niño-3.4 sea surface temperature index is associated with a mean change in NPP supply of −6.6 g C m−2 yr.−1. Concurrently, the population-driven trend in NPP demand averages 3.5 g C m−2 yr.−1 over the entire region with densely populated urban areas exhibiting the highest mean demand for NPP. Our findings highlight the importance of accounting for the role ENSO plays in modulating the balance between supply and demand of NPP in sub-Saharan drylands. An important implication of these findings is that increase in NPP demand for socio-economic metabolism must be taken into account within the context of climate-modulated supply.

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