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Past and future rainfall in the Horn of Africa

Jessica E. Tierney; Caroline C. Ummenhofer; Peter B. deMenocal

Title:
Past and future rainfall in the Horn of Africa
Author(s):
Tierney, Jessica E.
Ummenhofer, Caroline C.
deMenocal, Peter B.
Date:
Type:
Articles
Department(s):
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Volume:
1
Persistent URL:
Book/Journal Title:
Science Advances
Geographic Area:
Africa--Horn of Africa
Abstract:
fomented drought and famine, threatening food security in an already vulnerable region. Some attribute this decline to anthropogenic forcing, whereas others maintain that it is a feature of internal climate variability. We show that the rate of drying in the Horn of Africa during the 20th century is unusual in the context of the last 2000 years, is synchronous with recent global and regional warming, and therefore may have an anthropogenic component. In contrast to 20th century drying, climate models predict that the Horn of Africa will become wetter as global temperatures rise. The projected increase in rainfall mainly occurs during the September–November “short rains” season, in response to large-scale weakening of the Walker circulation. Most of the models overestimate short rains precipitation while underestimating long rains precipitation, causing the Walker circulation response to unrealistically dominate the annual mean. Our results highlight the need for accurate simulation of the seasonal cycle and an improved understanding of the dynamics of the long rains season to predict future rainfall in the Horn of Africa.
Subject(s):
Paleoclimatology
Rain and rainfall
Rain and rainfall--Forecasting
Drought forecasting
Climatic changes
Publisher DOI:
https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1500682
Item views
39
Metadata:
text | xml
Suggested Citation:
Jessica E. Tierney, Caroline C. Ummenhofer, Peter B. deMenocal, , Past and future rainfall in the Horn of Africa, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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