Analysis of the bio-physical and socio-economic determinants of bushfire and its health impacts on the population of the Volta Basin of West Africa under climate change: A case study of Northern Ghana
Sandra Nketiaa Kusi (1), Joseph Intsiful (2), Francis Allotey (1)
(1)Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMS), Accra, Ghana (2)Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, United Kingdom
Abstract Number: 351
Preference: Poster Presentation
Last modified: November 9, 2009
Working Group: sq3
The fact that bushfire in the African Savannah impacts on the land surface properties and influences the local-to-regional atmospheric circulation is now well established. However, the extent and nature of these impacts and associated feedbacks on human and biophysical systems are not well understood. It is estimated that about 80% of the African Savannah is burnt annually.
Apart from threshold changes in the surface energy balance, bushfire produces smoke which contains gases (such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides) that are hazardous to humans and ecosystems. The problem is more acute in rural areas where intensive and intentional bushfire is a major farm management tool used by about 70% of the population to derive their livelihoods. The effects of bushfire on health are difficult to quantify, because secondary and delayed consequences are poorly reported in the region.
To investigate the health impacts of bushfire on rural population of the Volta Basin, a multi-disciplinary study consisting of a combination of bio-physical and socio-economic measurements and numerical experimentation is being undertaken under the RIPIECSA project in the semi-arid northern and middle transition zones of Ghana where intensive bushfire is prevalent. In this presentation, we provide a preliminary assessment of the health impacts of bushfire in the Volta Basin based on the Hadley Centre regional climate model, PRECIS, as well as observation and re-analysis data. We also assess the socio-economic dynamics of the northern and middle transition zones of Ghana that represent one of the bushfire hot-spots in the Volta Basin and show how bushfire-induced landuse change caused by human activities would impact on the local-to-regional atmospheric circulation and distribution of bushfire emissions and human health.