Part of the Springer Theses book series (Springer Theses)


The oceans have the capacity to accumulate heat in the surface layer. This energy is transferred to the atmosphere leading to changes in atmospheric circulation and consequent impacts in remote and nearby locations. Thus, the SST becomes a key variable to detect ocean sources of seasonal predictability from interannual to multidecadal time scales (e.g., Mohino et al. 2011a; Skinner et al. 2012; Rodríguez-Fonseca et al. 2015). Global spatial patterns of SST anomalies (SSTA) are organized in the so-called modes of variability, which are particular of each ocean basin and determine the principal directions in which the variability takes place. In this framework, the anomalous monsoonal rainfall is strongly linked to SST variability. Regarding the WAM, leading patterns of SSTA play a key role when tackling rainfall variability (Folland et al. 1986; Palmer 1986; Xue and Shukla 1998; Fontaine et al. 1998; Rodríguez-Fonseca et al. 2011, 2015; Losada et al. 2010a, b; Rowell 2013; Vera et al. 2013), becoming a key factor in the severe drought experienced in the Sahel from the early 1970s (Lu and Delworth 2005; Mohino et al. 2011a; Rodríguez-Fonseca et al. 2015). The West African Sahel is a narrow belt located around 15oN between the Sahara desert to the north and the woody Sudanese savanna to the south, crossing Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Every year, the Sahel alternates a dry season, with total absence of precipitation, and a very wet season coinciding with the boreal summer months. Thus, the water resources available during the long dry season depend almost entirely on the intensity of precipitation during the rainy season.


Mohino Multidecadal Time Scales Boreal Summer Months Global Spatial Pattern West African Sahel 
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.


  1. Batterbury S and Warren A (2001) The African Sahel 25 years after the great drought: assessing progress and moving towards new agendas and approaches. Global Environmental Change 11 1 1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biasutti M, Held IM, Sobel AH and Giannini A (2008) SST forcings and Sahel rainfall variability in simulations of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Journal of Climate 21 14 3471–3486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dai A, Lamb PJ, Trenberth KE, Hulme M, Jones PD and Xie P (2004) The recent Sahel drought is real. International Journal of Climatology 24 11 1323–1331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Findell KL and Delworth TL (2010) Impact of common sea surface temperature anomalies on global drought and pluvial frequency. Journal of Climate 23 3 485–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Folland C, Palmer T and Parker D (1986) Sahel rainfall and worldwide sea temperatures, 1091–85. 320 Nature Publishing GroupGoogle Scholar
  6. Fontaine B, Trzaska S and Janicot S (1998) Evolution of the relationship between near global and Atlantic SST modes and the rainy season in West Africa: statistical analyses and sensitivity experiments. Climate Dynamics 14 5 353–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fontaine B, Garcia-Serrano J, Roucou P, Rodriguez-Fonseca B, Losada T, Chauvin F, Gervois S, Sijikumar S, Ruti P and Janicot S (2010) Impacts of warm and cold situations in the Mediterranean basins on the West African monsoon: observed connection patterns (1979–2006) and climate simulations. Climate Dynamics 35 1 95–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fontaine B, Monerie P-A, Gaetani M and Roucou P (2011) Climate adjustments over the African-Indian monsoon regions accompanying Mediterranean Sea thermal variability. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 116 D23Google Scholar
  9. Gaetani M, Fontaine B, Roucou P and Baldi M (2010) Influence of the Mediterranean Sea on the West African monsoon: Intraseasonal variability in numerical simulations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 115 D24 D24115Google Scholar
  10. García-García D and Ummenhofer CC (2015) Multidecadal variability of the continental precipitation annual amplitude driven by AMO and ENSO. Geophysical Research Letters 42 2 526–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Giannini A, Saravanan R and Chang P (2003) Oceanic forcing of Sahel rainfall on interannual to interdecadal time scales. Science 302 5647 1027–1030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Giannini A, Saravanan R and Chang P (2005) Dynamics of the boreal summer African monsoon in the NSIPP1 atmospheric model. Climate Dynamics 25 5 517–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Greene AM, Giannini A and Zebiak SE (2009) Drought return times in the Sahel: A question of attribution. Geophysical Research Letters 36 12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grist JP and Nicholson SE (2001) A study of the dynamic factors influencing the rainfall variability in the West African Sahel. Journal of Climate 14 7 1337–1359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Held IM, Delworth TL, Lu J, Findell KL and Knutson TR (2005) Simulation of Sahel drought in the 20th and 21st centuries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102 50 17891–17896CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hulme M (2001) Climatic perspectives on Sahelian desiccation: 1973–1998. Global Environmental Change 11 1 19–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Janicot S, Moron V and Fontaine B (1996) Sahel droughts and ENSO dynamics. Geophysical Research Letters 23 5 515–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Janicot S, Harzallah A, Fontaine B and Moron V (1998) West African Monsoon Dynamics and Eastern Equatorial Atlantic and Pacific SST Anomalies (1970–88). Journal of Climate 11 8 1874–1882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Janicot S, Trzaska S and Poccard I (2001) Summer Sahel-ENSO teleconnection and decadal time scale SST variations. Climate Dynamics 18 3 303–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Janowiak JE (1988) An Investigation of Interannual Rainfall Variability in Africa. Journal of Climate 1 3 240–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Joly M and Voldoire A (2009) Influence of ENSO on the West African Monsoon: Temporal Aspects and Atmospheric Processes. Journal of Climate 22 12 3193–3210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Joly M and Voldoire A (2010) Role of the Gulf of Guinea in the inter-annual variability of the West African monsoon: what do we learn from CMIP3 coupled simulations?. International Journal of Climatology 30 12 1843–1856Google Scholar
  23. Jung T, Ferranti L and Tompkins AM (2006) Response to the summer of 2003 Mediterranean SST anomalies over Europe and Africa. Journal of Climate 19 20 5439–5454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kushnir Y, Barreiro M, Chang P, Chiang J, Lazar A and Malanotte-Rizzoli P (2003) The role of the south Atlantic in the Variability of the ITCZ White paper for CLIVAR/IAI/OOPCGoogle Scholar
  25. Le Barbé L, Lebel T and Tapsoba D (2002) Rainfall variability in West Africa during the years 1950–90. Journal of Climate 15 2 187–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lebel T and Ali A (2009) Recent trends in the central and western Sahel rainfall regime (1990–2007). Journal of Hydrology 375 1–2 52–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lebel T, Diedhiou A and Laurent H (2003) Seasonal cycle and interannual variability of the Sahelian rainfall at hydrological scales. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 108 D8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Li H, Wang H and Yin Y (2012) Interdecadal variation of the West African summer monsoon during 1979–2010 and associated variability. Climate Dynamics 39 12 2883–2894Google Scholar
  29. López-Parages J and Rodríguez-Fonseca B (2012) Multidecadal modulation of El Niño influence on the Euro-Mediterranean rainfall. Geophysical Research Letters 39 2 L02704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. López-Parages J, Rodríguez-Fonseca B and Terray L (2015) A mechanism for the multidecadal modulation of ENSO teleconnection with Europe. Climate Dynamics 45 3 867–880CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Losada T, Rodríguez-Fonseca B, Janicot S, Gervois S, Chauvin F and Ruti P (2010a) A multi-model approach to the Atlantic Equatorial mode: impact on the West African monsoon. Climate Dynamics 35 1 29–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Losada T, Rodríguez-Fonseca B, Polo I, Janicot S, Gervois S, Chauvin F and Ruti P (2010b) Tropical response to the Atlantic Equatorial mode: AGCM multimodel approach. Climate Dynamics 35 1 45–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Losada T, Rodriguez-Fonseca B, Mohino E, Bader J, Janicot S and Mechoso CR (2012) Tropical SST and Sahel rainfall: A non-stationary relationship. Geophysical Research Letters 39 12 L12705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lu J and Delworth TL (2005) Oceanic forcing of the late 20th century Sahel drought. Geophysical Research Letters 32 22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Martín-Rey M, Polo I, Rodríguez-Fonseca B and Kucharski F (2012) Changes in the interannual variability of the tropical Pacific as a response to an equatorial Atlantic forcing. Scientia Marina 76 S1 105–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Martín-Rey M, Rodríguez-Fonseca B, Polo I and Kucharski F (2014) On the Atlantic–Pacific Niños connection: a multidecadal modulated mode. Climate Dynamics 43 11 3163–3178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Martín-Rey M, Rodríguez-Fonseca B and Polo I (2015) Atlantic opportunities for ENSO prediction. Geophysical Research Letters 42 16 6802–6810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mohino E, Janicot S and Bader J (2011a) Sahel rainfall and decadal to multi-decadal sea surface temperature variability. Climate Dynamics 37 3 419–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mohino E, Rodríguez-Fonseca B, Losada T, Gervois S, Janicot S, Bader J, Ruti P and Chauvin F (2011b) Changes in the interannual SST-forced signals on West African rainfall. AGCM intercomparison. Climate Dynamics 37 9–10 1707–1725CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Moron V, Robertson AW and Ward MN (2006) Seasonal Predictability and Spatial Coherence of Rainfall Characteristics in the Tropical Setting of Senegal. Monthly Weather Review 134 11 3248–3262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mortimore MJ and Adams WM (2001) Farmer adaptation, change and ‘crisis’ in the Sahel. Global Environmental Change 11 1 49–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nicholson SE and Palao IM (1993) A re-evaluation of rainfall variability in the sahel. Part I. Characteristics of rainfall fluctuations. International Journal of Climatology 13 4 371–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nicholson S (2005) On the question of the “recovery” of the rains in the West African Sahel. Journal of Arid Environments 63 3 615–641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nicholson SE and Webster PJ (2007) A physical basis for the interannual variability of rainfall in the Sahel. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 133 629 2065–2084CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nicholson SE (2013) The West African Sahel: A review of recent studies on the rainfall regime and its interannual variability. ISRN Meteorology 1–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nnamchi H and Li J (2011) Influence of the South Atlantic Ocean Dipole on West African Summer precipitation. Journal of Climate 24 4 1184–1197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Palmer TN (1986) Influence of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans on Sahel rainfall. Nature 322 6076 251–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Park J-Y, Bader J and Matei D (2015) Northern-hemispheric differential warming is the key to understanding the discrepancies in the projected Sahel rainfall. Nature Communications 6 5985CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Park J-Y, Bader J and Matei D (2016) Anthropogenic Mediterranean warming essential driver for present and future Sahel rainfall. Nature Climate Change 6 10 941–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Parker D, Folland C, Scaife A, Knight J, Colman A, Baines P and Dong B (2007) Decadal to multidecadal variability and the climate change background. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 112 D18 D18115Google Scholar
  51. Polo I, Rodríguez-Fonseca B, Losada T and García-Serrano J (2008) Tropical Atlantic variability Modes (1979–2002). Part I: Time-evolving SST modes related to West African rainfall. Journal of Climate 21 24 6457–6475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rodríguez-Fonseca B, Janicot S, Mohino E, Losada T, Bader J, Caminade C, Chauvin F, Fontaine B, García-Serrano J, Gervois S, Joly M, Polo I, Ruti P, Roucou P and Voldoire A (2011) Interannual and decadal SST-forced responses of the West African monsoon. Atmospheric Science Letters 12 1 67–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rodríguez-Fonseca B, Mohino E, Mechoso CR, Caminade C, Biasutti M, Gaetani M, Garcia-Serrano J, Vizy EK, Cook K, Xue Y, Polo I, Losada T, Druyan L, Fontaine B, Bader J, Doblas-Reyes FJ, Goddard L, Janicot S, Arribas A, Lau W, Colman A, Vellinga M, Rowell DP, Kucharski F and Voldoire A (2015) Variability and predictability of West African Droughts: A review on the role of sea surface temperature anomalies. Journal of Climate 28 10 4034–4060CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rodríguez-Fonseca B, Suárez-Moreno R, Ayarzagüena B, López-Parages J, Gómara I, Villamayor J, Mohino E, Losada T and Castaño-Tierno A (2016) A review of ENSO influence on the North Atlantic. A Non-Stationary Signal. Atmosphere 7 7Google Scholar
  55. Rowell DP (2001) Teleconnections between the tropical Pacific and the Sahel. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 127 575 1683–1706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rowell DP (2003) The impact of Mediterranean SSTs on the Sahelian rainfall season. Journal of Climate 16 5 849–862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rowell DP (2013) Simulating SST teleconnections to Africa: What is the state of the art?. Journal of Climate 26 15 5397–5418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Skinner CB, Ashfaq M and Diffenbaugh NS (2012) Influence of Twenty-First-Century Atmospheric and Sea Surface Temperature Forcing on West African Climate. Journal of Climate 25 2 527–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sultan B and Janicot S (2000) Abrupt shift of the ITCZ over West Africa and intra-seasonal variability. Geophysical Research Letters 27 20 3353–3356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sultan B and Janicot S (2003) The West African monsoon dynamics. Part II: The “preonset” and “Onset” of the summer monsoon. Journal of Climate 16 21 3407–3427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Sultan B, Janicot S and Diedhiou A (2003) The West African Monsoon Dynamics. Part I: Documentation of Intraseasonal Variability. Journal of Climate 16 21 3389–3406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wang B, Liu J, Kim H-J, Webster PJ, Yim S-Y and Xiang B (2013) Northern Hemisphere summer monsoon intensified by mega-El Niño/southern oscillation and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110 14 5347–5352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Xue Y and Shukla J (1998) Model Simulation of the Influence of Global SST Anomalies on Sahel Rainfall. Monthly Weather Review 126 11 2782–2792CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Physical Sciences, Department of Earth Physics and AstrophysicsComplutense University of MadridLos MolinosSpain

Personalised recommendations