Climate Dynamics

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 115–126 | Cite as

Influence of aerosol-radiative forcings on the diurnal and seasonal cycles of rainfall over West Africa and Eastern Atlantic Ocean using GCM simulations

  • Kyu-Myong Kim
  • William K.-M. Lau
  • Yogesh C. Sud
  • Gregory K. Walker


Effects of aerosol radiative forcing on the diurnal and seasonal cycles of precipitation over West Africa and eastern Atlantic Ocean are investigated for the boreal summer season: June–July–August. An eight year (2000–2007) average of GCM simulated rainfall data is compared with the corresponding TRMM rainfall data. The comparison shows that the amplitude of the diurnal cycles of rainfall over land and ocean are reasonably well simulated. Over land, the phase of the simulated diurnal cycle of precipitation peaks several hours earlier than that of the TRMM data. Corresponding differences over the ocean(s) are relatively smaller. Some of the key features of the aerosol induced model simulated field anomalies are: (a) aerosol direct radiative forcing which increases the atmospheric stability and reduces the daytime moist convection and convective precipitation; (b) the aerosol induced changes in the diurnal cycle of precipitation are out of phase with those of the TRMM data over land, but are in-phase over the ocean; (c) aerosols reduce the amplitude of the diurnal cycle of precipitation over land and enhance it over ocean. However, the phase of the diurnal cycle is not affected much by the aerosol radiative forcing both over land and ocean. During the boreal summer, aerosol radiative forcing and induced circulation and precipitation cool the Sahel and the southern part of Sahara desert more than the adjacent areas to the north and south, thereby shifting the peak meridional temperature gradient northward. Consequently, an anomalous easterly jet is found north of its climatological location. This anomalous jet is associated with increased cyclonic circulation to the south of its axis, resulting in an anomalous monsoon rain belt in the Sahel.


Monsoon Rainfall Aerosol Radiative forcing 



This work is supported jointly by the Precipitation Measuring Mission, the NASA AMMA program, and the program on Interdisciplinary Investigation, NASA Headquarters, Earth Science Division. Resources supporting this work were provided by the NASA High-End Computing (HEC) Program through the NASA Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS) at Goddard Space Flight Center. The authors are grateful to Dr. Eric Wilcox and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. The first author wishes to thank Dr. Myong-In Lee for useful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyu-Myong Kim
    • 1
  • William K.-M. Lau
    • 2
  • Yogesh C. Sud
    • 2
  • Gregory K. Walker
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/GSFCGreenbeltUSA
  3. 3.SAIC/General Sciences OperationBeltsvilleUSA

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