Change in Sahelian Rivers hydrograph : the case of recent red floods of the Niger River in the Niamey region

Abstract : Changes in the hydrological regime of Sahelian Rivers are considered based upon the example of the Middle Niger River and its exceptional flood in 2010 near the city of Niamey. It is shown that rainfall in 2010 was only average with respect to the long term record, with neither the monthly rainfall distribution in terms of the amount of rainfall nor the distribution of rainy events changing significantly in the last few decades. Particularly , no increase in the number of extreme rainfall events is observed. In spite of this, the Niger River's right bank tributaries have shown a sharp increase in runoff since the 1970s, which is still ongoing, and has resulted in a modification of the Niger River's regime from a single hydrograph to a two flood hydrograph, the local flood, occurring during the rainy season being the more pronounced one. This modification is likely due to an increase of bare soils and crusted soil areas as a consequence of human pressure, resulting mostly from the spatial extension of crop areas and the shortening of fallow periods. Changes in connectivity of the river networks on both banks of the Niger such as endorheism bursting events also caused an increase in the contributing basin area. Policy makers should be alerted to the effects of intensive cropping, land clearing and overgrazing in some areas, on the hydrological regimes of Sahelian Rivers.
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Luc Descroix, Pierre Genthon, Okechukwu Amogu, Jean-Louis Rajot, Daniel Sighomnou, et al.. Change in Sahelian Rivers hydrograph : the case of recent red floods of the Niger River in the Niamey region. Global and Planetary Change, Elsevier, 2012, 98-99, pp.18-30. ⟨10.1016/j.gloplacha.2012.07.009⟩. ⟨ird-02153208⟩

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