Atlantic control of the late nineteenth-century Sahel humid period



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Villamayor Moreno, Julián and Mohino Harris, Elsa and Juliette, Mignot and Serge, Janicot (2018) Atlantic control of the late nineteenth-century Sahel humid period. Journal of climate, 31 (20). pp. 8225-8240. ISSN 0894-8755

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Precipitation regime shifts in the Sahel region have dramatic humanitarian and economic consequences such as the severe droughts during the 1970s and 1980s. Though Sahel precipitation changes during the late twentieth century have been extensively studied, little is known about the decadal variability prior to the twentieth century. Some evidence suggests that during the second half of the nineteenth century, the Sahel was as rainy as or even more rainy than during the 1950s and 1960s. Here, we reproduce such an anomalous Sahel humid period in the late nineteenth century by means of climate simulations. We show that this increase of rainfall was associated with an anomalous supply of humidity and higher-than-normal deep convection in the mid- and high troposphere. We present evidence suggesting that sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic basin played the dominant role in driving decadal Sahel rainfall variability during this early period.

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©2018 American Meteorological Society.
The authors thank editor Dr. Barlow as well as Dr. Vellinga and the other anonymous reviewer for their duty and helpful comments. We are grateful to David Gallego for his comments and discussion on the ASWI. We acknowledge NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information for providing the ERSST.v4 data (at We thank also the authors of C1A15 and NI12 for making their time series freely available (at and, respectively). This work is the result of a 3-month stay of J.V. at LOCEAN/IPSL at Paris, France, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) with support for short stays (EEBB-I-16-10979-MINECO) within the scholarship he has been granted (BES-2013-063821-MINECO). The research leading to these results has received funding from the projects PREFACE (EUFP7/2007-2013 Grant Agreement 603521) and PRE-4CAST (CGL2017-86415-R). This work was granted access to the HPC resources of TGCC under the allocation 2015-017403 and 2016-017403 made by GENCI. This study also benefited from the IPSL mesocenter facility, which is supported by CNRS, UPMC, Labex L-IPSL (funded by the ANR Grant ANR-10-LABX-0018 and by the European FP7 IS-ENES2 Grant 312979).

Uncontrolled Keywords:Sea-surface temperature; West-African monsoon; Rainfall variability; North-Atlantic; Decadal prediction; 20th-Century; Simulations; Dynamics; Model; Climate; Precipitation; Sea surface temperature; Atmosphere-ocean interaction; Climate models; Decadal variability; Multidecadal variability
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Geophysics
Sciences > Physics > Meteorology
ID Code:49725
Deposited On:29 Oct 2018 18:47
Last Modified:15 Apr 2019 23:01

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