Social Science Research Network (SSRN)
Data on rainfall patterns only weakly corroborate the claim that climate change explains the Darfur conflict that began in 2003 and has claimed more than 200,000 lives and displaced more than two million persons. Rainfall in Darfur did not decline significantly in the years prior to the eruption of major conflict in 2003; rainfall exhibited a flat trend in the thirty-years preceding the conflict (1972-2002). The rainfall evidence suggests instead a break around 1971. Rainfall is basically stationary over the pre- and post-1971 sub-periods. The break is larger for the more northerly rainfall stations, and is less noticeable for En Nahud. Rainfall in Darfur did indeed decline, but the decline happened over 30 years before the conflict erupted. Preliminary analysis suggests little merit to the proposition that a structural break several decades earlier is a reasonable predictor of the outbreak of large-scale civil conflict in Africa.
Gray, Leslie and Kevane, Michael, Darfur: Rainfall and Conflict (May 20, 2008). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1147303 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1147303