Science et changements planétaires / Sécheresse


Agronomical impacts of the climate in West Africa: An illustration of the main problems Volume 19, issue 1, janvier-février-mars 2008


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Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Laboratoire d’océanographie et du climat : expérimentation et approches numériques (Locean), Unité mixte de recherches (UMR) 7159 (CNRS/IRD/P6/MNHN), Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Case 100, 4, place Jussieu, 75252 Paris cedex 05, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (Cirad), Cirad-Amis/Agronomie/Ecotrop, TA 40/01, Avenue Agropolis, 34398 Montpellier cedex 5, Centre AGRHYMET, BP 11011, Niamey, Niger

Climate has a strong influence on agricultural production with socio-economical impacts the severity of which varies from one region to another. These impacts are particularly strong in West African countries that in many cases are exposed to high variability in climate and where poverty increases the impact of climate fluctuations. In this context, aggravated by the long-term drought of the last decades and global climate change, it appears crucial to orient research efforts towards linking two fields of research: meteorology and agriculture. However, this linkage raises several major issues that are illustrated and discussed in this paper. These issues include (i) the spatial and temporal scales; (ii) the uncertainty in climate and impact predictions; and (iii) the use of climate information by the stakeholders.