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Rong-Hua Zhang and Antonio J. Busalacchi

equatorial ocean current/countercurrent system (e.g., Hansen and Paul 1984 ; Qiao and Weisberg 1998 ; Masina and Philander 1999 ). Data analyses and modeling studies indicate that they have significant effects on ocean thermal and dynamical fields. For example, it has been demonstrated that TIWs are important to the meridional transport of heat near the equator (e.g., Bryden and Brady 1989 ; Kessler et al. 1998 ; Vialard et al. 2003 ; Jochum and Murtugudde 2006 ; Jochum et al. 2005 , 2007

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M. Issa Lélé and Peter J. Lamb

variation of these associations during 1974–2003. This paper complements Bell and Lamb (2006) , which used daily rain gauge data for 1950–98 to document the variability of West African Soudano–Sahel mesoscale convective weather systems (MCWSs) during that period. Here, we add a key aspect of the regional circulation context to the understanding of that MCWS variability. The regional climate motivation for this investigation was substantial. In particular, over the 30 yr since the Sahel drought began to

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Jianhua Sun and Sixiong Zhao

synoptic characteristics during boreal winter with the persistence of the blocking high pressure in the north branch of the westerlies, the shear line, and a quasi-stationary front between the Yangtze River basin and southern China, which resulted in a very favorable environment for the formation and development of the severe rain–snow event. c. The eastward propagation of cloud systems from the Tibetan Plateau Tao and Ding (1981) indicated that the Tibetan Plateau can exert very important effects on

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