This study investigated recent trends in the mean surface minimum and maximum air temperatures over eastern Africa by use of both graphical and statistical techniques. Daily records for 71 stations for the period 1939–92 were used.
Attempts were also made to associate the temperature characteristics with the anomalies in the major systems that control the climate of the region including the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the quasi-biennial oscillation, and the prevailing convective processes represented by the outgoing longwave radiation.
The northern part of the study region generally indicated nighttime warming and daytime cooling in recent years. The trend patterns were, however, reversed at coastal and lake areas. The Mozambique channel region showed cooling during both nighttime and daytime. There were thus large geographical and temporal variations in the observed trends, with some neighboring locations at times indicating opposite trends.
A significant feature in the temperature variability patterns was the recurrence of extreme values. Such recurrences were significantly correlated with the patterns of convective activities, especially ENSO, cloudiness, and above/below normal rainfall. Although some of the variations in the trend patterns could be attributed to urbanization and land use patterns, such effects were not delineated in the current study.
Corresponding author’s address: Dr. Stephen Mutua King’uyu, Meteorological Services, P.O. Box 101000, Gaborone, Botswana.