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Climate Dynamics 39 (2012) 2895-2916
Tropical-temperate interactions over Southern Africa simulated by a regional climate model
Nicolas Vigaud ( ) 1, Benjamin Pohl 1, Julien Crétat 1

The Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) forced by ERA40 re-analyses, is used to study tropical-temperate interactions over southern Africa, most specifically Tropical Temperate Troughs (TTTs) representing a major contribution to South African rainfall during austral summer. A cluster analysis applied on 1971-2000 ERA40 and WRF simulated daily OLR reveals for the November to February season three coherent regimes characteristic of TTTs over the region. Analyses of WRF simulated TTTs suggest that their occurrence is primarily linked with mid-latitude westerly waves and their phasing. Ensemble experiments designed for the case of austral summer 1996/1997 allow to examine the reproducibility of TTT events. The results obtained illustrate the importance of westerly waves phasing regarding the persistence of rain-producing continental TTT events. Moreover, oceanic surface conditions prevailing over the Agulhas current regions of the South West Indian Ocean (SWIO) are also found to influence TTT persistence for regional experiments with an oceanic mixed layer, warmer sea surface temperatures being associated with increased moisture advection from the SWIO where latent heat release is enhanced, favoring baroclinic instability and thus sustaining convection activity locally.
1 :  Biogéosciences
CNRS : UMR6282 – Université de Bourgogne
Planète et Univers/Sciences de la Terre/Climatologie

Sciences de l'environnement/Milieux et Changements globaux