Assessing the impacts of Climate Change in Senegal: A Case Study of Casamance Region
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Different theories emphasize the role climate change plays in the actual abnormal occurrence of climate related natural disasters. Climate change continues to pose a threat to the sustainability of natural resources. Global warming has several impacts in the Casamance region, especially on water resources, agriculture, coastal zones and human health. This is a stressful issue for researchers, scientists and politicians due to inevitable loss and the impacts it exerts on the environment. Therefore, by following these theories, climate change would be qualified as barriers to the development and well–being of human beings, especially in developing countries, since they are the ones that are more vulnerable to climate change due to lack of means of resilience to the latter’s harmfulness. Senegal, one developing country, was taken as a case study, with the main objective of evaluating its impacts in the Casamance Region in main strategical sectors with relevant scientific evidences. Historical records of hydrological and climate data (precipitation, temperature and streamflow) that occurred in Ziguinchor and Kolda stations, were the parameters used to achieve the main objective of this study. Based on the obtained results, climate change in Casamance is not negligible. According to recent climatological data, the climate of Casamance underwent abnormal evolutions during the period going from 1987 to 2016. Thus, climatic parameters such as temperature and precipitation were modified. The result of the analysis also indicates much fluctuation in both rhythm and quantity of precipitation as a result of weather disturbances. There has also been a considerable decrease in the Casamance River flow in the past. The aggression of the vegetation cover, deforestation, GHG emissions (linked to agricultural practices, transport and industrial sector), and biomass combustion in Casamance have increased the risk of vulnerability to climate change. When the temperature rises, seawater spills into the river, which causes salinization, sea level rise, coastal erosion, a decrease in marine species. The shortening of the seasons also affects agricultural sector, reducing yields, causing shortages. Rainfall irregularities and the rise in temperature have marked the lands to the point of upsetting them (salinization / acidification of the soils, silting up of the shallows, etc.). Today, the hydrological dysfunction means that the Casamance River functions like a veritable estuary characterized by high concentrations of salt, thus compromising the supply of drinking water to the populations and their agricultural activities.