Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 545–555

Investigation of El Niño and La Niña effects and the impact of Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SSTs), on precipitation in Nigeria from 1950 to 1992

Original Paper


Monthly precipitation data from meteorological stations in Nigeria are analysed from 1950 to 1992, in relation to sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The analyses have shed some light on understanding the variability of rainfall anomalies observed in Nigeria for this period. The correlation values between rainfall anomaly indices (RAI) and different meteorological indices are not all significant. Thus, the analyses show some indication that rainfall in Nigeria is associated with El Niño-related circulation and rainfall anomalies. The low correlations between RAI and SST in the Pacific confirm low correlations between rainfall and southern oscillation indices (SOI). SST correlations in the tropical Atlantic suggest that warm surface water in this part of the Atlantic moves the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) southward and away from the SouthEast of Nigeria, indicating less rainfall, while, in SouthWest of Nigeria, the warm surface waters in this part of the Atlantic are likely to be responsible for a more northern position of the ITCZ, which produces more rainfall. The lower correlation in Northern Nigeria may be attributed to its continentality, away from the influence of the sea surface conditions in the Gulf of Guinea and the tropical Atlantic. The drought, or rainfall, cycles in Northern Nigeria are more closely connected to the land surface conditions in the nearby Sahel region.


Nigeria Interannual variability El Nino Rainfall Precipitation anomaly Atlantic Ocean Pacific Ocean 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of NigeriaNsukkaNigeria
  2. 2.Centro de Previsão de Estudos ClimãticosCachoeira PaulistaBrazil

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