Comparing farmers’ perception of climate change and variability with historical climate data in the Upper East Region of Ghana
Perception of climate change and variability supported by local knowledge has helped to advance understanding of climate change and its impacts on agricultural land-use systems. This study compares farmers’ perception of climate change and variability in four communities of the Upper East Region of Ghana. Using a sample of 186 households from these four communities, farmers’ perception was compared with historical climatic data from the closest weather station of the study area. Also, logistic regressions were used to estimate factors that influence the perception of climate change and variability in the area. Findings show that 71% of respondents perceived an increase in temperature which matches with the climatological evidence. On the other hand, decreasing rainfall with a shortening period was observed by 95% of respondents. From the climatological data, no real evidence of reduction in the amount of rainfall was apparent due to the high inter-annual variability. Unlike the rainfall data, there is an agreement between climatological data and farmers’ observation that the onset of the rainy season is now shifting from April to June, accompanied by an increasing dry spell. In contrast, there is a divergence concerning the length of the growing season which is explained by the strong influence of the onset rather than by the end of the rainy season. From the findings of the binary logistic analyses, the local topography and the information on weather and climate were significant in determining the likelihood of a good perception of climate change and variability. Therefore, for any policy directed at farmers to adopt adaptation measures to climate change, more attention should be given to the role of the local environment and access to climate-related information.
Keywords: Adaptation, Climate change, Perception, Climatological evidence, Upper East