Vertical attributes of precipitation systems in West Africa and adjacent Atlantic Ocean

Jose D. Fuentes, Bart Geerts, Teferi Dejene, Paolo D'Odorico, Everette Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This study reports the findings of TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) satellite data analyses undertaken to investigate differences in intensity and depth of precipitating systems in the transition region from continental to maritime environments in West Africa during the rainy season of June to September in 1998-2004. The results of this study are interpreted in the context of regional thermodynamic variables such as equivalent potential temperature and equivalent convective available potential energy to discern the processes governing storm development. Over continental West Africa, convective-type precipitating storms exhibit a substantially larger vertical extent compared to the ones over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. In contrast, the stratiform precipitating systems show similar vertical reflectivity patterns, depth and intensity over both land and adjacent ocean in West Africa. The differences in the attributes of storms, as they move from the continent to the ocean, can be partly explained in terms of the surface-atmosphere interactions that provide the necessary transports of energy and water vapor from the surface to the cloud layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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