Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 100, Issue 1–2, pp 207–220 | Cite as

Sensitivity of the simulated African monsoon of summers 1993 and 1999 to convective parameterization schemes in RegCM3

  • L. A. Djiotang TchotchouEmail author
  • F. Mkankam Kamga
Original Paper


In this study, the International Center for Theoretical Physics Regional Climate Model version 3 (RegCM3) was used to investigate the sensitivity of the simulation of the West African monsoon using four different cumulus and closures parameterization schemes of Anthes Kuo (AK), Grell and Fristish Chappell (GFC), Grell and Arakawa Schubert (GAS), and MIT-Emmanuel (EM) while maintaining other physical packages unchanged. The contrasting monsoon years of 1993 and 1999, which were dry and wet years, respectively, were simulated. The model was integrated from a period of 5 months, starting from May 1 to September 30 of each year using the European Centre for Medium-Range-Weather Forecast (ECMWF) Reanalysis data (ERA40) as input boundary conditions. The 6-hourly reanalysis data were used to provide the lateral boundary conditions, and the observed weekly Reynolds Sea Surface Temperature interpolated to 6 h was used as the lower boundary forcing. The results show that in West Africa, monsoon precipitations are sensitive to the choice of cumulus parameterization and closure schemes. None of the schemes is able to simulate the monsoon rainfall accurately, and furthermore, there is little difference in behavior among schemes between dry and wet years. The spatial features of precipitation are not identical among schemes, although they all show a northward shift of the rain bands, giving a very wet Sahel and dry Guinean Coast. The GFC and EM schemes are able to capture the diurnal cycle of precipitation and the zonal averages of stratiform rain fractions as observed in the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), although they overestimated rainfall amounts. The most important deficiencies, however, cannot be attributed to the schemes. In particular, the northward shift of both the rain band and the AEJ in RegCM3 is the result of unrealistic soil moisture resulting from the way albedo is parameterized, leading to an excessive northward penetration of monsoon flow. A sensitivity study showed that an adjustment of initial albedo values over the Sahel improved the simulation, and in particular the position of rain bands and of the AEJ.


Tropical Rainfall Measure Mission Climate Research Unit NCEP Reanalysis West African Monsoon Rain Band 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Trieste Italy, through the Associate Scheme provided support during preparation of the revised version of this work. The careful review and detailed comments by anonymous reviewers substantially helped the authors to improve the final version of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics, Faculty of Sciences, Laboratory for Environmental Modelling and Atmospheric PhysicsUniversity of Yaoundé IYaoundéCameroon

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