Increased seasonal rainfall in the twenty-first century over Ghana and its potential implications for agriculture productivity

Enoch Bessah*, Emmanuel A. Boakye, Sampson K. Agodzo, Emmanuel Nyadzi, Isaac Larbi, Alfred Awotwi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The slightest change in rainfall could have a significant impact on rain-fed agriculture in countries like Ghana. This study evaluated for the first time the performance of the statistical downscaling model (SDSM-DC) at 2m spatial resolution in simulating rainfall in Ghana for the base period 1981–2010. It further analysed the projected changes in seasonal rainfall pattern across different agro-ecological zones for the twenty-first century under RCP 4.5 and 8.5 emission scenarios over Ghana. Ensemble mean of simulated rainfall data (2011–2099) generated by 43 GCMs in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) were used as base factors for local future climate scenarios generation. Performance analysis of SDSM-DC shows a Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency, percent bias and RMSE observations standard deviation ratio of 0.88, −19 and 0.34, respectively. Generally, seasonal rainfall amount is expected to increase between 10 and 40% in all the agro-ecological zones in Ghana by the end of the twenty-first century. Off-season rainfall in December–February shows more than 100% increase in the Guinea Savannah zone. Rainfall projected under RCP 4.5 was on average 2% higher than RCP 8.5 in all the seasons throughout the century. Based on these results, it is appropriate to suggest a high incidence of flooding across Ghana in the twenty-first century. This could have dire consequences on agriculture which contribute to a large proportion of Ghana’s GDP. Therefore, for sustainable food production and security in the twenty-first century, Ghana needs climate adaptation policies and programmes that encourage the design and implementation of early warning systems of meteorological hazards and the introduction of new crop varieties that are flood tolerant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12342-12365
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Issue number8
Early online date4 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Climate modelling
  • Ghana
  • Rainfall
  • RCP 4.5
  • RCP 8.5


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