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Feedback of observed interannual vegetation change: a regional climate model Analysis for the West African monsson

Klein, Cornelia and Bliefernicht, Jan and Heinzeller, Dominikus and Gessner, Ursula and Klein, Igor and Kunstmann, Harald (2017) Feedback of observed interannual vegetation change: a regional climate model Analysis for the West African monsson. Climate Dynamics, 48, pp. 2837-2858. Springer. doi: 10.1007/s00382-016-3237-x. ISSN 0930-7575.

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Official URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-016-3237-x


West Africa is a hot spot region for land–atmosphere coupling where atmospheric conditions and convective rainfall can strongly depend on surface characteristics. To investigate the effect of natural interannual vegetation changes on the West African monsoon precipitation, we implement satellite-derived dynamical datasets for vegetation fraction (VF), albedo and leaf area index into the Weather Research and Forecasting model. Two sets of 4-member ensembles with dynamic and static land surface description are used to extract vegetation-related changes in the interannual difference between August–September 2009 and 2010. The observed vegetation patterns retain a significant long-term memory of preceding rainfall patterns of at least 2 months. The interannual vegetation changes exhibit the strongest effect on latent heat fluxes and associated surface temperatures. We find a decrease (increase) of rainy hours over regions with higher (lower) VF during the day and the opposite during the night. The probability that maximum precipitation is shifted to nighttime (daytime) over higher (lower) VF is 12 % higher than by chance. We attribute this behaviour to horizontal circulations driven by differential heating. Over more vegetated regions, the divergence of moist air together with lower sensible heat fluxes hinders the initiation of deep convection during the day. During the night, mature convective systems cause an increase in the number of rainy hours over these regions. We identify this feedback in both water- and energy-limited regions of West Africa. The inclusion of observed dynamical surface information improved the spatial distribution of modelled rainfall in the Sahel with respect to observations, illustrating the potential of satellite data as a boundary constraint for atmospheric models.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/105356/
Document Type:Article
Title:Feedback of observed interannual vegetation change: a regional climate model Analysis for the West African monsson
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Klein, CorneliaUniversität AugsburgUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Bliefernicht, JanUniversität AugsburgUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Klein, IgorUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-0113-8637UNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Climate Dynamics
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 2837-2858
Keywords:Land–atmosphere interaction Vegetation feedback West African monsoon Precipitation Satellite data
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Fernerkundung der Landoberfläche (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center > Land Surface
Deposited By: Klein, Igor
Deposited On:05 Sep 2016 14:20
Last Modified:04 Jul 2023 14:28

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