Scientific background and motivation for the JET2000 aircraft observing campaign that took place in West Africa during the last week of August 2000 are presented. The Met Research Flight CI30 aircraft made two flights along the African easterly jet (AEJ) between Sal, Cape Verde, and Niamey, Niger, and two “box” flights that twice crossed the AEJ at longitudes near Niamey. Dropsondes were released at approximately 0.5°–10° intervals. The two box flights also included low-level flights that sampled north–south variations in boundary layer properties in the baroclinic zone beneath the AEJ.

Preliminary results and analysis of the JET2000 period including some of the aircraft data are presented. The JET2000 campaign occurred during a relatively dry period in the Niamey region and, perhaps consistent with this, was also associated with less coherent easterly wave activity compared to other periods in the season. Meridional cross sections of the AEJ on 28 and 29 August (after the passage of a mesoscale system) are presented and discussed. Analysis of dropsonde data on 28 August indicates contrasting convective characteristics north and south of the AEJ with dry convection more dominant to the north and moist convection more dominant to the south. The consequences of this for the AEJ and the relationship with the boundary layer observations are briefly discussed.

Preliminary NWP results indicate little sensitivity to the inclusion of the dropsonde data on the AEJ winds in European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and Met Office analyses. It is proposed that this may be due to a good surface analysis and a realistic model response to this. Both models poorly predict the AEJ in the 5-day forecast indicating the need for more process studies in the region.

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Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York

Institute for Atmospheric Science, School of the Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

HATS (MRF), DERA, Boscombe Down, United Kingdom

Met Office, DERA, Farnborough, United Kingdom

Met Office, Bracknell, Berkshire, United Kingdom

Niger Met Service, Niamey, Niger

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, United Kingdom

ECMWF, Reading, United Kingdom