Understanding Pacific Ocean influence on interannual precipitation variability in the Sahel

Pomposi, Catherine Ann; Giannini, Alessandra; Kushnir, Yochanan; Lee, Dong Eun

Moisture budget decomposition is performed for the Sahel (10°–20°N and 20°W–40°E) in order to understand the processes that govern regional hydroclimate variability on interannual time scales and frame them in the context of their primary ocean driver. Results show that warm conditions in the Eastern Tropical Pacific remotely force anomalously dry conditions primarily through affecting the low-troposphere mass divergence field. This behavior is related to increased subsidence over the tropical Atlantic and into the Sahel and an anomalous westward flow of moisture from the continent, both resulting in a coherent drying pattern. Understanding the physical processes relating remote sea surface temperature anomalies to atmospheric circulation changes and the resulting complex local convergence patterns is important for advancing seasonal prediction of precipitation over West Africa.

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Also Published In

Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 2016GL069980