The dynamics associated with drought in the Sahel have attracted considerable attention in the recent literature. This paper evaluates Sahel precipitation using the paradigm of the atmospheric centers of action, that is, the extended semipermanent highs and lows that dominate regional circulations and are evident in sea level pressure patterns. We find that Sahel precipitation is significantly influenced by changes in the Azores High and the South Asia Low. Specifically, about 50 percent of the variance of July to September rainfall over the Sahel is explained by changes in the Azores High Longitude position and South Asia Low pressure. In contrast, the contribution of the Southern Oscillation to Sahel precipitation is smaller in comparison. Results presented in this paper suggest that a key test for a climate model in simulating variability of Sahel rainfall is the accuracy with which the model simulates the dynamics of South Asia Low and the Azores High.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science