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Maboa, R. 2016. Spatial and temporal changes in the rainfall patterns of Botswana, 1998-2013. MSc Thesis, Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg


Description:

Spatial and temporal changes in the rainfall patterns of Botswana, 1998-2013.

Summary / Notes:

Rainfall is a complex phenomenon, which has previously been explored by assessing rainfall patterns in time and space, typically using ground-based weather stations. Rainfall patterns in southern Africa tend to have a direct impact on vegetation growth and surface water availability, and an indirect impact on animal movement. This study investigated rainfall in Botswana by analysing changes in spatial and temporal patterns from 1998 to 2013, using satellite imagery. Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B43 dataset (1998-2013) was used to document monthly rainfall magnitude and variability over the 15-year period. Additionally, a GIS spatial analysis approach, the Anselin Local Moran’s I tool, was used to determine changes (i.e. persistence) of rainfall conditions on a year by year basis during the study period. WorldClim precipitation data (1950-2000) were utilised as a longer term average reference dataset against which TRMM data could be compared. This study found that the rainy season consisted of relatively high rainfall magnitudes and variability, while the post rainy season consisted of relatively lower rainfall magnitudes and variability across Botswana. Higher magnitudes persisted into April, indicating the occurrence of late summer rainfall during this observation period. From a regional perspective, the Okavango Delta remained a region of relatively higher rainfall magnitude and variability compared to surrounding regions, regardless of the season. The rainy season was associated with a high frequency of rainfall events above the long term WorldClim average, and the post rainy season with a high frequency of rainfall below the long term WorldClim average. The spatial analysis indicated an annual persistence of high rainfall clusters in northern Botswana, and a persistence of low rainfall clusters in southern Botswana throughout the 15-year analysis. In addition, a progressive drying trend towards the end of the time series was observed. These findings suggest that Botswana has experienced both wetter conditions and drier conditions within the 15-year analysis period, than have been historically documented. The progressive drying trend towards the end of the time series may be indicative of a changing climate in Botswana. However, due to the length of this analysis period it cannot be proven conclusively that the detected wetter and drier conditions, than historically documented, are a signal of climate change.

Year: 2016

Type: Thesis

Download: Spatial and temporal patterns of Rainfall_Botswana_MSc.pdf (1.72 mb)


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