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Effects of ENSO and the Indian Ocean Diplole on Short Season Rainfall in East Africa

PI: Ruth Doherty
Institution: University of Edinburgh
In the Climate-Land-Interactions project (Colleagues at the University of East Anglia, Michigan State University and the International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi) we are investigating the effect of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Diplole (IOD) on short season rainfall (OND) in East Africa for the 20th century and in the future, as simulated in multiple GCMs. Initial work has identified a consistent influence of both climate indices (ENSO and the IOD) on East African rainfall between 1960-2000. We are interested in examine how this relationship may change in the next 100 years as predicted from GCM simulations for 1-2 emissions scenarios. An extension of this work is to examine how variability and future changes in East African rainfall may affect ecosystem productivity. For this work I will be using the climate-driven dynamic ecosystem model LPJ. The analysis will be done by myself and the data required are projections of surface air temperature, precipitation and solar radiation/cloud amount for ~6 GCMs and the A1, A2, B1 and B2 emissions scenarios. In another project with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, we are investigating the role of lightning and deep convection on atmospheric chemistry using a combined modelling (HadAM3-STOCHEM climate-chemistry model) and satellite (observations from the recently launched EOS-MLS instrument on AURA) study. We would also like to examine future multi-model GCM projections of changes in convection and lightning and see how these compare with our HadCM3-STOCHEM model simulations. Lightning NOx emissions will be calculated according to Price et al. (1997) whereby lightning is related to cloud top height and location. Again, the analysis would be done by myself and the required GCM fields are convective precipitation and cloud fraction per atmospheric layer again for ~6 GCMs and 2-4 emission scenarios.
  • Butler A, Doherty RM, Marion G, 2008: Model averaging to combine simulations of future global vegetation carbon stocks. Environmetrics, 10.1002/env.953. Abstract. Full Article. Edit.
  • RUTH M. DOHERTY, STEPHEN SITCH, BENJAMIN SMITH, SIMON L. LEWIS, PHILIP K. THORNTON, 2010: Implications of future climate and atmospheric CO2 content for regional biogeochemistry, biogeography and ecosystem services across East Africa. Global Change Biology, 16, 617-640, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01997.x. Abstract. Full Article. Edit.

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