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An Idealized Two-Dimensional Framework to Study the West African Monsoon. Part II: Large-Scale Advection and the Diurnal Cycle

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  • 1 Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Météo-France, and Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques, Toulouse, France
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Abstract

The idealized 2D model developed in Part I of this study is used to study the West African monsoon sensitivity to large-scale forcing. Using ECWMF reanalyses, a large-scale forcing is introduced in the 2D model in terms of temperature and humidity advection.

A coherent structure of cooling–moistening near the surface and drying–warming in the 2–4-km layer is found in the Saharan heat low region. The effect of the advective forcing is to block the monsoon propagation by strengthening the northerly flux and by an increase of convective inhibition. The heat low thus appears to play a key role in the monsoon northward penetration through its temperature and humidity budget. Ultimately, warmer low levels and/or more moist midlevels in the heat low favor a more northerly position of the ITCZ.

A detailed view of the continental diurnal cycle is also presented. Potential temperature and humidity budgets are performed in the deep convective and heat low area. The moistening process to sustain deep convection is made through nocturnal advection at low levels and daytime turbulence that redistributes humidity vertically. The same mechanism occurs in the heat low except that the vertical transfers by turbulence help maintain the dryness of the low levels. A possible mechanism of interaction between the deep convective zone and the Saharan heat low is also proposed that involves gravity waves in the upper troposphere.

Corresponding author address: P. Peyrillé, CNRM/GMME/Météo-France, 42 Av. G Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse, France. Email: peyrille@cnrm.meteo.fr

Abstract

The idealized 2D model developed in Part I of this study is used to study the West African monsoon sensitivity to large-scale forcing. Using ECWMF reanalyses, a large-scale forcing is introduced in the 2D model in terms of temperature and humidity advection.

A coherent structure of cooling–moistening near the surface and drying–warming in the 2–4-km layer is found in the Saharan heat low region. The effect of the advective forcing is to block the monsoon propagation by strengthening the northerly flux and by an increase of convective inhibition. The heat low thus appears to play a key role in the monsoon northward penetration through its temperature and humidity budget. Ultimately, warmer low levels and/or more moist midlevels in the heat low favor a more northerly position of the ITCZ.

A detailed view of the continental diurnal cycle is also presented. Potential temperature and humidity budgets are performed in the deep convective and heat low area. The moistening process to sustain deep convection is made through nocturnal advection at low levels and daytime turbulence that redistributes humidity vertically. The same mechanism occurs in the heat low except that the vertical transfers by turbulence help maintain the dryness of the low levels. A possible mechanism of interaction between the deep convective zone and the Saharan heat low is also proposed that involves gravity waves in the upper troposphere.

Corresponding author address: P. Peyrillé, CNRM/GMME/Météo-France, 42 Av. G Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse, France. Email: peyrille@cnrm.meteo.fr

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