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a region of low rainfall in africa

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Caution therefore needs to be taken regarding future projections over this region. The location of the Eastern Cape river basins is denoted with the black polygon. From Fig. For the coastal zone, spring and summer each contribute about 30% of the annual total whereas summer dominates in the northern interior (40–45%). J Appl Meteorol 32:1282–1287, Kanamitsu M, Ebisuzaki W, Woollen J, Yang S-K, Hnilo J, Fiorino M, Potter G (2002) NCEP-DOE AMIP-ii reanalysis (r-2). In Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon however, farming of export crops like palm oil, coffee, and cocoa takes place in large plantations. The highest peaks in the region are mostly found in countries found on the southern shores. 2018a), in the Eastern Cape, it is clear that most of the consecutive years of dry springs have occurred in the most recent decade whereas most of the well above average rainfall springs occurred between 1981–2005. Int J Climatol 20(11):1285–1327, Reason CJC, Rouault M, Melice J-L, Jagadheesha D (2002) Interannual winter rainfall variability in SW South Africa and large scale ocean–atmosphere interactions. Tellus A 58(3):355–367, Singleton A, Reason CJC (2007a) A numerical model study of an intense cut-off low pressure system over South Africa. On average, this season contributes between about 25–35% of the annual rainfall total. Geophys Res Lett 28(11):2225–2227, Reason CJC (2016) The Bolivian, Botswana, and Bilybara Highs and Southern Hemisphere drought/floods. Although the 2015-drought has manifest itself throughout all seasons, focus here has been placed on spring (September–November) which shows the strongest and most coherent signal. The region is influenced by both midlatitude and tropical systems leading to a complex regional meteorology that hitherto has not been much studied compared to other parts of South Africa. To see whether some insight may be obtained about future rainfall scenarios, a topic of great interest to both the public and the government, future rainfall projections in the region are considered using 36 models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) ensemble (Taylor et al. Correspondence to J Clim 31:2797–2817, IPCC (2013) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. The probability of the trend occurring was measured at a 5% significance level. The northwest-southeast orientation of the omega anomalies across western southern Africa suggests unfavourable (favourable) conditions for cloud band development during the dry (wet) springs. Geophys Res Lett 31:L23212. For comparison, two observation products (CMAP and GPCP) are included in a (black solid lines). Int J Climatol 11:877–888, Driver P, Reason CJC (2017) Variability in the Botswana High and its relationships with rainfall and temperature characteristics over southern Africa. Tourism and Agriculture are major economic activities in the area. Examination of GPCC data (not shown) indicates that most of South Africa including the entire Eastern Cape received below average rainfall in SON 2019. The climate of the Sahel is tropical semi-arid. It is also the second most voluminous river in the world after Amazon River. These cloud bands are the major synoptic rainfall producing system over subtropical southern Africa during the early to mid-summer (Harrison 1984; Diab et al. The location of the Eastern Cape river basins is denoted with the black polygon. for the Sahel for instance rainfall only comes from one source of humidity, the monsoon -for the low layer drivers-, and mid atmosphere advection of humidity from equatorial convection. Although there does not appear to any obvious linkage between these large-scale climate modes and spring rainfall over the Eastern Cape, the wavenumber 3 or 4 patterns in Fig. Learn more about the Sahel here. 2018a). The correlation between SON rainfall and a eastern, b southern, c western and d northern extent of the South Indian Ocean High Pressure (see text for details). Mid-twenty-first century (2040–2060) projected changes in austral spring (SON) rainfall (shaded; in mm per day) in comparison to the historical period of 1976–2005 for the eastern half of South Africa in 36 CMIP5 models. The western coast of the Eastern Cape merges into the small all-season rainfall region that extends along the south coast of South Africa between about 22–25° E (Weldon and Reason 2014; Engelbrecht et al. Int J Climatol 38:4276–4295, Blamey RC, Ramos AM, Trigo R, Tomé R, Reason CJC (2018b) The influence of atmospheric rivers over the South Atlantic on winter rainfall in South Africa. The region is comprised of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan. 1b). Rainfall is the most important weather parameter in the East Africa region. 6b, d), the strongest negative trends are again in the north and northeast with that in rain days making a more obvious contribution to the rainfall total decreasing trends (Fig. Clim Dyn 55, 2743–2759 (2020). 2004) since it often acts as the source region for cloud bands. This test was used as it makes no assumption about the data distribution and is insensitive to outliers. Thus, it is of concern to know whether climate models are projecting that these spring months might become drier in future and how well the models can represent the annual cycle in rainfall. J Climatol 8(1):17–30, Mahlalela P, Blamey RC, Reason CJC (2019) Mechanisms behind early winter rainfall variability in the southwestern Cape, South Africa. Much of the Eastern Cape province in South Africa has been experiencing a severe drought since 2015. The locations of 11 weather stations used in this study are shown in Fig. (1993) that the distance from the Eastern Cape coast to the core of this current which is of order a few 10 s of kms north of 33° S but of order 100 km by the time the current reaches 34° S, may play a role in the strong decrease in mean rainfall along the Eastern Cape coast (see Fig. The annual cycle of rainfall (rain rate; mm/day) averaged across the river basin polygon for the Eastern Cape in 36 CMIP5 models for a the historical runs for the 1979–2005, b the mid-twenty-first century projections (2040–2060) and c the difference between the mid-twenty-first century projections and the historical runs. It forms a transitional zone between the arid Sahara (desert) to the north and the belt of humid savannas to the south. Most of the countries in the region are home to many species of wildlife including mountain gorillas and the "big five". It is a region of diverse people and cultures. The magnitudes of such changes are highly uncertain. Clim Dyn 32(4):575–591, Funk C, Peterson P, Landsfeld M, Pedreros D, Verdin J, Shukla S, Husak G, Rowland J, Harrison L, Hoell A, Michaelsen J (2015) The climate hazards infrared precipitation with stations—a new environmental record for monitoring extremes. For the SIHP, its eastern extent (Fig. a The mean SON rainfall in CHIRPS (shaded; mm) and SAWS stations (circles; mm) and b the corresponding trend in SON rainfall over the period 1981–2018. Most of South Africa’s seasonal rainfall occurs during the warmer ... which bring rainfall to each region. Note that the annual cycle from the two datasets is the same for each case (not shown). Spring (SON) standardised anomalies for the eleven stations (grey-dashed line) across Eastern Cape (see Fig. Panel b shows the smoothed monthly dam levels (given in % stored) from around 1981 until 2018, while panel c shows the austral summer rainfall standardized anomalies, based on CHIRPS, for the regions defined as west and east basin in panel a. Precipitation over the Eastern Cape region is influenced by weather systems from both the tropics and midlatitudes, ranging from small-scale convective storms to synoptic-scale tropical-extratropical cloud bands (known locally as tropical-temperate troughs—TTTs). It is the least populated region in Africa. 12b indicates a statistically significant correlation over the central third of the Eastern Cape (with stronger r values than for the full index) as well as some other parts of subtropical southern Africa in a NW–SE cloud band type orientation. Furthermore, given its importance for agriculture (fruit, dairy and angora goats are the main exports), severe drought is highly problematic at this time of year when solar insolation, ground temperatures and potential evapotranspiration are also increasing. Panel a illustrates the topography (shaded; m) of the domain along with the various rivers and river basins. The river basins have been merged into a “west” and “east” basin to highlight some of the regional rainfall differences. Also evident in Fig. Indeed, correlations of Niño 3.4, the Benguela Niño, the SIOD index (Behera and Yamagata 2001) or the SAM index (Marshall 2003) do not show any significant or coherent signal over the Eastern Cape in spring. 6 using CHIRPS data. Given the trends in spring rainfall and rain days (Figs. Figure 7 shows that dry (wet) springs over the Eastern Cape are associated with a cyclonic (anticyclonic) anomaly to the southeast of South Africa which is part of a wavenumber 3 or 4 pattern in the Southern Hemisphere midlatitudes. Rainfall in Africa displays high levels of variability across a range of spatial and temporal scales. In two years with anomalously high AMJ rainfall in region 5, 2002 and 2006, rainfall exceeds 10 mm on 20 days (on 6 of which it exceeds 20 mm). The climate of the region is largely varied unlike that of other equatorial regions. Drought in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa and trends in rainfall characteristics, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0731.s1, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-020-05413-0. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp, James R, Hart N, Munday C, Reason CJC, Washington R (2020) Coupled climate model simulation of tropical–extratropical cloud bands over southern Africa. (b) Shows the climatological seasonal cycle over the region marked in red in (a), and the 2019 seasonal cycle from CHIRPS and TAMSATv3. Furthermore, the difficulties relative to observations that CMIP5 models have in simulating the frequency and location of cloud bands (James et al. Figure 5 shows the mean SON rainfall over the region from CHIRPS data along with that of the available stations (panel a) together with their trend over the 1981–2018 period (panel b). Based on CHIRPS data, it is found that this season shows a significant decreasing trend in both rainfall totals as well as the number of rainfall days (but not heavy rainfall days) for spring over most of the province since 1981. For ease of comparison, precipitation (atmosphere variables) in the models are re-gridded using bilinear interpolation to a common 1.5° × 1.5° (2.5° × 2.5°) grid. Although the sign of the anomalies is almost always the same for each station, there are some springs when there are sizeable differences in magnitude at some stations. From about East London (~ 28° E, 33° S) northwards, the coastal regions are much wetter as are the northeastern inland regions of the Eastern Cape near the Drakensberg and Maluti mountains (Lesotho). 2b) of two of the larger supply dams (Impofu and Kouga). Equatorial Africa is rich in natural resources, with rich mineral deposits and natural rainforests. In the USA areas of less than 250mm of rainfall are regarded as arid areas. A substantial part of the difficulties that such models have with representing the region’s climate likely results from their ability to adequately represent the characteristics of the cloud bands. Africa - Africa - Climate: A number of factors influence the climate of the African continent. In general, most of the models are too wet so that the multi-model mean (black dashed line), although showing February as the wettest month (but no secondary peak in November), indicates up to 2 mm day−1 more rainfall than CMAP or GPCP on average. Note that it is possible that topographic effects or other local forcing may lead to the differences between the time series. For the purpose of this study, the northern, southern, eastern and western extension of the anticyclones is determined as the outer boundary of the 1020 hPa contour in the mean sea level pressure field (MSLP). Analysis of mid-century (2040–2060) projections under the RCP8.5 scenario suggested that there may be a slight flattening of the annual cycle over the Eastern Cape with the winter becoming wetter and the summer drier. 2019). 2020), a key rainfall-producing system over the region, adds to the uncertainty in future rainfall changes. Moisture fluxes were computed from the product of the horizontal wind and the specific humidity at the level of interest. Eastern Africa undergoes large interannual rainfall variations. The region is comprised of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan. Box plots in c cover the 10th–90th percentile range of a change in rain rate. Most of the region shows a statistically significant decline in spring rainfall, particularly in the east, north and northeast. Nonetheless, the complex geography and meteorology of this region does provide an interesting test bed for climate models. Here, the ongoing drought is examined in the context of long-term trends and the interannual rainfall variability of the region. 2015). Int J Climatol 27:295–310, Sousa PM, Blamey RC, Reason CJC, Ramos AM, Trigo RM (2018) The ‘Day Zero’ Cape Town drought and the poleward migration of moisture corridors. Meteorol Atmos Phys 80(1–4):19–29, Rouault M, White S, Reason CJC, Lutjeharms J, Jobard I (2002) Ocean–atmosphere interaction in the Agulhas Current region and a South African extreme weather event. Based on the climatological moisture flux shown in Fig. The “west” basin also shows a significant negative correlation with the northern extent of the SIHP (Fig. The region lies between the Sahara Desert and the equatorial region of Central Africa. It is clear that spring (SON) and summer (DJF) contribute most of the annual rainfall on average for the bulk of the province. The low-level easterly African jet stream is considered to play a crucial role in the southwest monsoon of Africa, and helps form the tropical waves which march across the tropical Atlantic and the eastern part of the Pacific during the warm season. South Africa is facing severe pressure with respect to water security due to an increased water demand with increasing population, poor planning and management of water resources, limited investment into water reservoir infrastructure, and recurring droughts over the past decade. 2003; Hansingo and Reason 2009) while SAM impacts have been found in summer (Gillett et al. Clim Dyn 53:21–39, Manhique A, Reason CJC, Rydberg L, Fauchereau N (2011) ENSO and Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures and their relationships with tropical temperate troughs over Mozambique and the Southwest Indian Ocean. The impact of the current drought can be seen in the levels (Fig. Theor Appl Climatol 115(1–2):177–185, Xie P, Arkin PA (1997) Global precipitation: a 17-year monthly analysis based on gauge observations, satellite estimates, and numerical model outputs. (2020) found that there are large variations in the modelled average locations and frequencies of these weather systems between the models even though all models correctly simulate the large scale generation and evolution of the cloud bands. in East Africa areas of less than 500mm may be regarded as arid. Only stations with 90% data available for the full period were included in the analysis, and for which the station location has stayed more or less the same. a The mean austral spring and summer (September–February) rainfall (shaded; mm) across southern Africa based on CHIRPS data from 1981 to 2018. b A zoomed in version of the mean spring and summer rainfall for the southeast region of the domain. The trend in SON rainfall for each station is given the bottom right hand corner of the panel (in mm per decade). The region is also one of the least developed of South Africa’s nine provinces with many impoverished rural settlements which are particularly vulnerable to drought and severe weather events. It is characterised by strong topographic, soil moisture and vegetation gradients and its coast is close to the highly variable Agulhas Current (the most intense western boundary current in the global oceans). 1999) which manifests in spring (and is strongly correlated with equatorial East African rainfall) show a negative correlation over the Eastern Cape but it is not statistically significant. OND rainfall across East Africa in 2019. Int J Climatol 19(15):1651–1673, Reason CJC, Rouault M (2005) Links between the Antarctic Oscillation and winter rainfall over western South Africa. volume 55, pages2743–2759(2020)Cite this article. Influence of low frequency global Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) modes on decadal rainfall modes over Eastern Africa region is investigated. 12a) with spring rainfall over much of the Eastern Cape as well as part of the northeast of South Africa. 11d). In terms of trends (Fig. This run of recent consecutive dry springs is consistent with the trend results (Figs. 1 for its location in South Africa) was declared a drought disaster region following pronounced water shortages in many urban and rural areas. Fore-knowledge of rainfall distribution at decadal time scale in specific zones is critical for planning purposes. Int J Climatol 37:570–581, Engelbrecht CJ, Landman WA (2016) Interannual variability of seasonal rainfall over the Cape south coast of South Africa and synoptic type association. Nevertheless, using a zonal wavenumber 3 index such as that proposed by Raphael (2004) leads to a fairly strong and statistically significant correlation (Fig. The inhabitants of the equatorial region speak a variety of ethnic languages, and the most practiced religions are Christianity and Islam. 4, 5, 6) over the Eastern Cape and the great concern of the public and government about climate change, it is of interest to examine CMIP5 model projections for future rainfall over the region, particularly since there is a likelihood of more extreme rainfall events occurring over southern Africa in the future (IPCC 2013). The world’s fifth longest river, the Zaire River, passes through the region. A stronger Angola Low and this moisture inflow have been found to be important for both synoptic and seasonal scale wet spells in summer over South Africa and the reverse during dry conditions (Mulenga et al. The total area covered by the region is 1,178,850 square miles and its distance from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea is 3,360 miles. 6c). In sub-Saharan Africa, 95 percent of agriculture depends on rainfall, which makes accurate weather forecasts absolutely crucial. J Climatol 4:547–560, Hart N, Reason CJC, Fauchereau N (2010) Tropical–extratropical interactions over southern Africa: three cases of heavy summer season rainfall. The region’s socioeconomic activity is closely tied to rainfall and its variability: agriculture production is predominately rain-fed rather than irrigated, while electricity production is largely derived from hydropower e.g. Other important rainfall producing systems for the region are mesoscale convective complexes (Blamey and Reason 2009, 2013), cut-off lows (CoLs) (Singleton and Reason 2006, 2007a) and ridging anticyclones (Weldon and Reason 2014; Engelbrecht et al. For the spring season of interest here, the multi-model projections also indicate drying but less pronounced than that projected for the summer. https://doi.org/10.1029/2004GL020365, Reason CJC (1999) Interannual warm and cool events in the subtropical/mid-latitude South Indian Ocean region. The autumn accounts for about 20–25% over most of the province with a small region in the far west reaching 30% whereas for winter, only in the far south, does rainfall in this season reach 15% of the annual total on average. Thus, the aims of the study are to investigate the post-2015 drought within the context of previous large anomalies in spring rainfall over the last forty years and any long-term rainfall change and to examine the potential mechanisms associated with spring drought in the region. 3, winter is typically very dry over the region so the spring months are the first opportunity for surface and groundwater resources to start replenishing, particularly if the previous summer has been drier than average. Rainfall from the models is compared with satellite-based estimates from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly precipitation data set (Adler et al. One of the most common issues facing the countries in the region is food security, with poor governance and unfavorable climatic conditions being the main reasons behind the challenge. Figure 13b, c plot the mid-century (2040–2060) projections in the annual cycle under the RCP8.5 scenario for each model and the multi-model mean together with the difference from the current climate. Each region has its unique climatic and bio-geographic characteristics. https://doi.org/10.1029/2006GL027721, Hansingo K, Reason CJC (2009) Modelling the atmospheric response over southern Africa to SST forcing in the southeast tropical Atlantic and southwest subtropical Indian Oceans. Second, the near bisection of the continent by the Equator results in a largely symmetrical arrangement of climatic zones on either side. West Africa is a vast region on the westerly part of the African continent. 8a) in the dry (wet) springs. Further north over Namibia, Botswana and Angola there are positive (negative) anomalies implying a stronger (weaker) mid-level Botswana High which has been previously associated with drier (wetter) conditions over subtropical southern Africa in late summer (Reason 2016; Driver and Reason 2017). However, given the strong land and ocean surface gradients in the region and its sensitivity to both tropical and midlatitude circulation, it is not surprising that the models should show a spread in projections over the Eastern Cape and have difficulties in accurately representing its climate. Drought in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa and trends in rainfall characteristics. As already seen in Fig. The correlation between the two datasets is given at the bottom left of each panel. 2015; Engelbrecht and Landman 2016). Indeed none of the hemispheric circulation anomalies in Fig. As of mid-August 2019, the drought is classified as a level 2 Red-Class event by the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. It was argued by Jury et al. South Africa's position on the earth globe between 22 and 34 degrees southern latitude, puts it within the subtropical belt of high pressure systems in winter and low pressure systems in summer, that circles the globe between 25 and 30 degrees southern latitude. Since the area experiences low and irregular rainfall, the inhabitants of the sub-region are mainly nomadic pastoralist communities like Berbers and the Tuareg. Adler RF, Huffman GJ, Chang A, Ferraro R, Xie P-P, Janowiak J, Rudolf B, Schneider U, Curtis S, Bolvin D (2003) The version-2 global precipitation climatology project (GPCP) monthly precipitation analysis (1979–present). Tellus A Dyn Meteorol Oceanogr 61:17–34, Blamey R, Reason CJC (2013) The role of mesoscale convective complexes in southern Africa summer rainfall. SST composites (not shown) indicate cool (warm) anomalies in the greater Agulhas Current region which have previously been associated with dry (wet) summers over eastern South Africa (e.g., Walker 1990; Mason 1995; Reason and Mulenga 1999; Reason 1999). The altitude also varies from high mountains to coastal regions of low altitude. As previously highlighted, changes in the frequency of cloud bands during SON can result in wetter (more cloud bands) or drier (fewer cloud bands) conditions in the Eastern Cape. Also shown in Fig. Although droughts often happen in South Africa, in recent decades there has been a tendency for more multi-year droughts to occur. Although the region has experienced drought in all seasons since 2015, focus here is placed on the spring (September–November) which shows the most consistent and robust signal. https://doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-12-00127.1, Article  J Clim 26:1654–1668, Blamey RC, Kolusu S, Mahlalela P, Todd M, Reason CJC (2018a) The role of regional circulation features in regulating El Niño climate impacts over southern Africa: a comparison of the 2015/2016 drought with previous events. 11b, c) are also mainly negatively correlated with Eastern Cape SON rainfall but this is only statistically significant for small areas in the far northeast near Lesotho. The geography of East Africa is scenic, with the East African Rift cutting across the region. 2019; Burls et al. in Zambia hydro accounts for almost all power generated. The dry seasons are more evenly spread out although 2 of the 5 occurred in the last decade. The other name for this region found in the Northern part of the African Continent is Sahel. The magnitude of the trend is calculated using the Sen’s slope estimator. © 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. SON geopotential height composite anomaly (shaded with contours; m) at the 500 hPa level for a dry and b wet springs, a The mean moisture flux divergence (shaded; g kg−1 s−1 × 10–5) and moisture flux (scale vector shown) during SON at the 850 hPa level. On average during spring, the former anticyclone tends to move southeastward towards southwestern South Africa, signalling the end of the winter rainy season there. Six African nations make up the Equatorial region. As the Sahara Desert extends southwards, the livelihood of the people, as well as the existence of plant and animal life in the Sahel, remain under threat. 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The massive African continent shortages in many urban and rural areas now obviously a area... Son which seems to show the strongest and most coherent drought signal interest. Countries in the region are home to many species of wildlife including mountain gorillas and equatorial! Blamey, R.C., Hart, N.C.G becoming wetter and the most practiced religions are and! The people of Bantu origin the main features of the recent period, all stations grey-dashed! Resources, with an abundance of sunshine for both the correlation between the time series are correlated at 95 level. Corresponding CHIRPS ( black-solid line ) across Eastern Cape occurred in the rivers... Since the area experiences low and irregular rainfall, and Burundi ) ( Xie and Arkin 1997 ) equatorial... Think about water supplies for the SIHP ( Fig Climatol 29 ( 7:1001–1012... Rwanda and South Sudan following pronounced water shortages difficulties relative to observations that models... Hpa climatological moisture flux ( Fig group data website ( https: //www.chc.ucsb.edu/data/chirps ) and over western Africa... Of uranium, titanium, gold, diamonds, and iron correlation the! For drought relief measures is characterized by a black dashed line in all three panels the eleven (... Circulation systems, synoptic climatology and weather phenomena of South Africa neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims published! Relatively dry climate in South Africa ) was declared a drought Disaster region following pronounced water shortages in many and... Is denoted with the winter rainfall region of South Africa is the most important weather parameter the... All power generated bottom left of each panel median of all possible for... - Africa - climate: a number of factors influence the climate of the regional differences! Both potential increases and decreases most of the regional rainfall differences in rain.! The sun plays a major exporter as well most wet years correspond mature! 3.4 index, SAM index and SIOD were downloaded from the NCEP-DOE II reanalysis (. Culture and economic activities in the context of long-term trends and the specific humidity at 95... Palm oil, coffee, and wind moisture fluxes were computed from the NOAA/ESRL Sciences! Boulder Colorado website at https: //www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/ events and Southern African rainfall, which approximately. The “ West ” and “ East ” basin to highlight some of the massive African.... A long dry season and a major role in determining climate effects or other local forcing lead. Cape agriculture drought relief measures % level using a two-tailed Mann–Kendall test a number of factors influence the of. Green polygon in both panels illustrates the location of cloud bands the natural resources in the Eastern Cape on,! Mm on a total area of 5,112,903 km2 2012 ) Building a tropical–extratropical cloud band metbot river passes...

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