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Linking Equatorial African precipitation to Kelvin wave processes in the CP4-Africa convection-permitting regional climate simulation

Ayesiga, G., Holloway, C. E. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9903-8989, Williams, C. J. R., Yang, G.-Y. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7450-3477, Stratton, R. and Roberts, M. (2021) Linking Equatorial African precipitation to Kelvin wave processes in the CP4-Africa convection-permitting regional climate simulation. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. ISSN 1520-0469

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JAS-D-21-0039.1

Abstract/Summary

Observational studies have shown the link between Convectively Coupled Kelvin Waves (CCKWs) and eastward propagating rainfall anomalies. We explore the mechanisms in which CCKWs modulate the propagation of precipitation from west to east over Equatorial Africa. We examine a multi-year state-of-the-art Africa-wide climate simulation from a convection permitting model (CP4A) along with a parameterised global driving-model simulation (G25) and evaluate both against observations (TRMM) and ERA-Interim (ERA-I), with a focus on precipitation and Kelvin wave activity. We show that the two important related processes through which CCKWs influence the propagation of convection and precipitation from west to east across Equatorial Africa are: 1) low-level westerly anomalies that lead to increased low-level convergence, and 2) westerly moisture flux anomalies that amplify the lower- to-mid-tropospheric specific humidity. We identify Kelvin wave activity using zonal wind and geopotential height. Using lagged composite analysis, we show that modelled precipitation over Equatorial Africa can capture the eastward propagating precipitation signal that is associated with CCKWs. Composite analysis on strong (high-amplitude) CCKWs shows that both CP4A and G25 capture the connection between the eastward propagating precipitation anomalies and CCKWs. In comparison to TRMM, however, the precipitation signal is weaker in G25, while CP4A has a more realistic signal. Results show that both CP4A and G25 generally simulate the key horizontal structure of CCKWs, with anomalous low-level westerlies in phase with positive precipitation anomalies. These findings suggest that for operational forecasting, it is important to monitor the day-to-day Kelvin wave activity across Equatorial Africa.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:101712
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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