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Sources of Sahel Precipitation for Simulated Drought and Rainy Seasons

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  • 1 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Institute for Space Studies, New York
  • | 2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
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Abstract

The sources of sub-Saharan precipitation are studied using diagnostic procedures integrated into the code of the GISS climate model. Water vapor evaporating from defined source region is “tagged,” allowing the determination of the relative contributions of each evaporative source to the simulated July rainfall in the Sahel. Two June–July simulations are studied to compare the moisture sources, moisture convergence patterns and the spatial variations of precipitation for rainy and drought conditions. Results for this eau study indicate that patterns of moisture convergence and divergence over northern Africa had a stronger influence on model rainfall over the sub-Sahara than did evaporation rates over the adjacent oceans or moisture advection from ocean to continent. While local continental evaporation contributed significant amounts of water to sahelian precipitation in the “rainy” simulation, moisture from the Indian Ocean did not precipitate over the Sahel in either case.

Abstract

The sources of sub-Saharan precipitation are studied using diagnostic procedures integrated into the code of the GISS climate model. Water vapor evaporating from defined source region is “tagged,” allowing the determination of the relative contributions of each evaporative source to the simulated July rainfall in the Sahel. Two June–July simulations are studied to compare the moisture sources, moisture convergence patterns and the spatial variations of precipitation for rainy and drought conditions. Results for this eau study indicate that patterns of moisture convergence and divergence over northern Africa had a stronger influence on model rainfall over the sub-Sahara than did evaporation rates over the adjacent oceans or moisture advection from ocean to continent. While local continental evaporation contributed significant amounts of water to sahelian precipitation in the “rainy” simulation, moisture from the Indian Ocean did not precipitate over the Sahel in either case.

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