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Abbravation: Climate Dynamics

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On the northward shift of the West African monsoon

Authors: Romain Ramel, Hubert Gallée, Christophe Messager,

Publish Date: 2006/01/10
Volume: 26, Issue:4, Pages: 429-440
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The regional climate model (MAR) is used to perform a simulation of the year 1992 over West Africa. It is shown that MAR is able to simulate the main features of the rainy regime over West Africa and especially the discontinuous seasonal progression of the West African Monsoon along the year. One particular feature that is reasonably well reproduced is the abrupt shift of the rain band from 5° to 10°N at the end of June (also called “monsoon jump”). This study suggests that such a phenomenon is associated with the shift of the Saharan heat low between two favourite positions: one being over the Sahelian area (10–15°N) and the other over the Saharan area (20–25°N). These two favourite locations of the heat low are linked to the spatial distribution of surface albedo over West Africa that drives the spatio-temporal location of the surface temperature maxima. A detailed analysis of this “monsoon jump” is performed and the causes of the strong decrease in precipitation that precedes the northward shift of the rain band are also investigated.All major computations were realised with IDRIS computing resources. The authors thank the NCEP, ECMWF, UDEL institutions for their datasets. The GPCP merged analysis of pentad precipitation is created at the CPC of NOAA. Thanks to Bernard Fontaine and Frederic Hourdin for useful discussions and comments. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers for their help in improving this paper. This research was in part supported by the AMMA international program.



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  1. The impact of perturbations to ocean-model parameters on climate and climate change in a coupled model
  2. Evaluation of large-scale meteorological patterns associated with temperature extremes in the NARCCAP regional climate model simulations
  3. How well do reanalyses represent the southern African precipitation?
  4. Real-time multi-model decadal climate predictions
  5. Oxygen stable isotope ratios from British oak tree-rings provide a strong and consistent record of past changes in summer rainfall
  6. Future impact of anthropogenic sulfate aerosol on North Atlantic climate
  7. A regional response in mean westerly circulation and rainfall to projected climate warming over Tasmania
  8. How does coldwave frequency in china respond to a warming climate?
  9. Characterizing the zonally asymmetric component of the SH circulation
  10. The impact of the MJO on clusters of wintertime circulation anomalies over the North American region
  11. A new atmospheric proxy for sea level variability in the southeastern North Sea: observations and future ensemble projections
  12. Dynamical and thermodynamical analysis of the South China Sea winter cold tongue
  13. Benefit of convection permitting climate model simulations in the representation of convective precipitation
  14. Projection of future climate change conditions using IPCC simulations
  15. Enhanced albedo feedback in North Africa from possible combined vegetation and soil-formation processes
  16. Tropical Pacific internal atmospheric dynamics and resolution in a coupled GCM
  17. A framework for investigating large-scale patterns as an alternative to precipitation for downscaling to local drought
  18. Sensitivity of the southern annular mode to greenhouse gas emission scenarios
  19. Biases and improvements in three dynamical downscaling climate simulations over China
  20. Global effect of irrigation and its impact on the onset of the Indian summer monsoon

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