There is clear evidence that the potential negative impacts of climate change are immense, and Ghana is particularly vulnerable due to lack of capacity to undertake adaptive measures to address environmental problems and socio-economic costs of climate change. These include climate change associated health problems, climate induced disruption of agricultural systems, flooding of coastal areas which are already undergoing erosion and low operating water level of the only hydro-generating dam in the country, (which produces 80% of national electricity supply), as a result of reduced levels of precipitation.
Ghana lies on the south central coast of West Africa between latitudes 4.50N and 11.50N and longitude 3.5oW and 1.3oE. It shares a common border with the Republic of Togo on the east, Burkina Faso on the north and la Cote d’Ivoire on the west respectively. Ghana covers an average area of 238,539 square kilometers. Extensive water bodies including the Lakes Volta and Bosomtwe occupy 3,275 square kilometers while seasonally flooded lakes occupy another 23,350 square kilometers. The territorial waters extend 200 nautical miles out to sea.
The country's population is estimated at 19.7 million (1999) and is believed to be growing at a rate between 2.8 and 3.0 percent per annum. The birth rate is estimated at 39 per thousand (1999) while the death rate is estimated at 10 per thousand (1999). The rate of infant mortality is approximately 66 per thousand life births while the overall life expectancy is 59 years (1999). The total fertility rate within the period 1996 to 1999 is estimated as 6.0.
All the major rivers in Ghana flow into the sea. The only area of internal drainage is found around Lake Bosomtwe, where only streams flow from the surrounding highlands into the lake. The river valleys show diverse characteristics. The valleys of all the major rivers are bordered by terraces showing the former width and height of the rivers. Whilst some of the valleys are guided in their direction by relief (Morago river for example flows east-west along the foot of the Gambaga escarpment) or by structure.
The two main sources of water supply for the rivers are rainfall and spring. In areas with single rainfall maximum as in the north, the rivers are intermittent. However, in areas with high and well distributed rainfall within the year, the rivers flow throughout the year. Temperatures throughout the country are typically high. The mean annual temperature is generally above 24ºC, a consequence of the low latitude position of Ghana and the absence of high altitude areas. Average figures range between 24 and 300C although temperatures ranging from 18 to 40ºC or more are common in the southern and northern parts respectively. Spatial variability of temperature is experienced in terms of the diurnal and annual ranges as a result of distance from the modifying influence of the sea breeze.