Examining climate variability over West Africa during the 1979-1993 period: Observations and CCM3 comparisons

G. S. Jenkins, J. C. Mikovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The Community Climate Model Version 3.6 is used to simulate the mean climate of West Africa during the Northern Hemisphere summer season (June-August). The climate model uses prescribed climatological sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and observed SSTs during the 1979-1993 period. Two important circulation features, the African Easterly Jet (AEJ) and the Tropical Easterly Jet (TEJ), are found in the simulations but a westerly wind bias is found with respect to 700 hPa winds. Consequently, easterly waves and rain rates are poorly simulated. The primary cause of the poorly simulated AEJ is the advection of cold air from Europe producing a cold bias over northern Africa and a weaker than observed meridional temperature gradient. The cold bias is caused by an eastward displacement of the simulated Azores surface high into Western Europe creating a stronger than observed meridional sea level pressure gradient over northern Africa. This bias systematically occurs in simulations using both climatological and observed SSTs. The biases in sea level pressure, temperature and zonal winds have the potential to produce poor regional climate model results for West Africa if the meteorological output from the CCM3 is used as lateral boundaries. Moreover, these biases introduce uncertainties to West African GCM sensitivity studies associated with interannual variability, land-use change and elevated anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-522
Number of pages20
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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