SPI-Climate Change Impacts on Agricultural Droughts

Sithabile Tirivarombo


Climate chnage, droughts, SPI, Zambezi


This paper evaluates the impacts of climate change on agricultural droughts in the Zambezi River basin. The Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI) is used to estimate drought occurrence and severity, historically and in the near future (2064-2065). Outputs of three downscaled and bias-corrected Global Circulation Models (GCMs) under the A2 emissions scenario are employed to evaluate the impact of climate change on future droughts in the basin. Based on the three GCMs it is anticipated that the basin will experience a generally increasing but minimal trend in precipitation in the range of 0.3% to 12%, with increased normal conditions and the possibility of a lower frequency of occurrence of severe to extreme drought events. The study also reveals that there is uncertainty associated with the GCMs as to the magnitude and direction of change of the basin’s response to future climate change.

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