Accessibility navigation

Convective systems and rainfall in East Africa

Hill, P. G. ORCID:, Stein, T. H. M. ORCID: and Cafaro, C. ORCID: (2023) Convective systems and rainfall in East Africa. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 149 (756). pp. 2943-2961. ISSN 1477-870X

Text (Open Access) - Published Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.

[img] Text - Accepted Version
· Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Text - Supplemental Material
· Restricted to Repository staff only


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.4540


East Africa is particularly vulnerable to weather extremes, with severe weather linked to thousands of deaths per year. Improved forecasts of convective events in this region are urgently needed, from both nowcasting and numerical weather prediction models. Improving these forecasts requires further knowledge of convection in this region. This study aims to improve understanding of convective events in East Africa, based on a 6 year climatology of convective lifecycles and the associated precipitation. Convective systems are identified as contiguous areas of cold cloud in geostationary satellite measurements over East Africa. A tracking algorithm is used to trace the evolution of the properties of these systems through time and space. Matching the systems to surface precipitation obtained from satellite microwave observations provides insight into how the lifecycles of these systems relate to precipitation at the surface. Over the region as a whole, 59 % of the accumulated precipitation can be attributed to the tracked convective systems. The majority (81 %) of heavy precipitation events (>= 10 mm hr-1) are attributable to convective systems, while light rainfall events (<1 mm hr-1) are not (1.8 %). Most of the tracked convective systems have an area less than 400 km2 and last for less than an hour. However, the less frequent larger longer-lived systems produce the majority of the regional accumulated precipitation. Composite lifecycles of the tracked systems show rapid intensification and heaviest precipitation initially, followed by a steady increase in area and weakening in intensity before the system decays. Finally, the Madden-Julian oscillation, which plays a key role in intraseasonal rainfall variability in the region is also linked to the amount of rainfall due to convective systems through changes in the frequency and properties of these systems.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:112685
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation