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Diagnosing Land–Atmosphere Interaction from a Regional Climate Model Simulation over West Africa

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  • 1 Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, Netherlands
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Abstract

Land–atmosphere interaction at climatological time scales in a large area that includes the West African Sahel has been explicitly explored in a regional climate model (RegCM) simulation using a range of diagnostics. First, areas and seasons of strong land–atmosphere interaction were diagnosed from the requirement of a combined significant correlation between soil moisture, evaporation, and the recycling ratio. The northern edge of the West African monsoon area during June–August (JJA) and an area just north of the equator (Central African Republic) during March–May (MAM) were identified. Further analysis in these regions focused on the seasonal cycle of the lifting condensation level (LCL) and the convective triggering potential (CTP), and the sensitivity of CTP and near-surface dewpoint depressions HIlow to anomalous soil moisture. From these analyses, it is apparent that atmospheric mechanisms impose a strong constraint on the effect of soil moisture on the regional hydrological cycle.

Corresponding author address: Bart J. J. M. van den Hurk, KNMI, P.O. Box 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, Netherlands. Email: hurkvd@knmi.nl

Abstract

Land–atmosphere interaction at climatological time scales in a large area that includes the West African Sahel has been explicitly explored in a regional climate model (RegCM) simulation using a range of diagnostics. First, areas and seasons of strong land–atmosphere interaction were diagnosed from the requirement of a combined significant correlation between soil moisture, evaporation, and the recycling ratio. The northern edge of the West African monsoon area during June–August (JJA) and an area just north of the equator (Central African Republic) during March–May (MAM) were identified. Further analysis in these regions focused on the seasonal cycle of the lifting condensation level (LCL) and the convective triggering potential (CTP), and the sensitivity of CTP and near-surface dewpoint depressions HIlow to anomalous soil moisture. From these analyses, it is apparent that atmospheric mechanisms impose a strong constraint on the effect of soil moisture on the regional hydrological cycle.

Corresponding author address: Bart J. J. M. van den Hurk, KNMI, P.O. Box 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, Netherlands. Email: hurkvd@knmi.nl

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