On the fine-scale topography regulating changes in atmospheric hydrological cycle and extreme rainfall over West Africa in a regional climate model projections

M. B. Sylla, A. T. Gaye, Gregory S. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ICTP-RegCM3 is used to downscale at 40 km projections from ECHAM5 over West Africa during the mid and late 21st Century. The results show that while ECHAM5 projects wetter climate along the Gulf of Guinea and drier conditions along the Sahel, RegCM3 produces contrasting changes for low-elevation (negative) and high-elevation (positive) terrains more marked during the second period. These wetter conditions in the uplands result from an intensification of the atmospheric hydrological cycle arising as a consequence of more frequent and denser rainy days and leading to larger intensity and more extreme events. Examination of the large-scale dynamics reveal that these conditions are mostly driven by increased low-level moisture convergence which produces elevated vertical motion above Cameroun's mountainous areas favoring more atmospheric instability, moisture, and rainfall. This regulation of climate change signal by high-elevation terrains is feasible only in RegCM3 as the driving ECHAM5 is smoothing along all the Gulf of Guinea. This consolidates the need to use regional climate model to investigate the regional and local response of the hydrological cycle, the daily rainfall and extreme events to the increasing anthropogenic GHG warming for suitable impact studies specifically over region with complex topography such as West Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number981649
JournalInternational Journal of Geophysics
Volume2012
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 19 2012

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hydrological cycle
climate models
Guinea
regional climate
climate modeling
topography
gulfs
projection
extreme event
moisture
rainfall
vertical motion
twenty first century
climate change
smoothing
climate
warming
examination
heating
West Africa

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geophysics

Cite this

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