Recent observed and simulated changes in precipitation over Africa
To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/2015GL065765
Multiple observational data sets and atmosphere-only simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 are analyzed to characterize recent rainfall variability and trends over Africa focusing on 1983–2010. Data sets exhibiting spurious variability, linked in part to a reduction in rain gauge density, were identified. The remaining observations display coherent increases in annual Sahel rainfall (29 to 43 mm yr−1 per decade), decreases in March–May East African rainfall (−14 to −65 mm yr−1 per decade), and increases in annual Southern Africa rainfall (32 to 41 mm yr−1 per decade). However, Central Africa annual rainfall trends vary in sign (−10 to +39 mm yr−1 per decade). For Southern Africa, observed and sea surface temperature (SST)-forced model simulated rainfall variability are significantly correlated (r~0.5) and linked to SST patterns associated with recent strengthening of the Pacific Walker circulation.