The Hydrologic Effects of Synchronous El Niño–Southern Oscillation and Subtropical Indian Ocean Dipole Events over Southern Africa
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The Hydrologic Effects of Synchronous El Niño–Southern Oscillation and Subtropical Indian Ocean Dipole Events over Southern Africa

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Hydrometeorology
  • Description:
    Southern Africa precipitation during December–March (DJFM), the height of the rainy season, is closely related with two modes of climate variability, El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the subtropical Indian Ocean dipole (SIOD). Recent research has found that the combined effects of ENSO and SIOD phasing are linked with changes to the regional southern Africa atmospheric circulation beyond the individual effects of either ENSO or SIOD alone. Here, the authors extend the recent research and examine the southern Africa land surface hydrology associated with the synchronous effects of ENSO and SIOD events using a macroscale hydrologic model, with particular emphasis on the evolution of the hydrologic conditions over three critical Transfrontier Conservation Areas: the Kavango–Zambezi Conservation Area, the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. A better understanding of the climatic effects of ENSO and SIOD phase combinations is important for regional-scale transboundary conservation planning, especially for southern Africa, where both humans and wildlife are dependent on the timing and amount of precipitation. Opposing ENSO and SIOD phase combinations (e.g., El Niño and a negative SIOD or La Niña and a positive SIOD) result in strong southern Africa climate impacts during DJFM. The strong instantaneous regional precipitation and near-surface air temperature anomalies during opposing ENSO and SIOD phase combinations lead to significant soil moisture and evapotranspiration anomalies in the year following the ENSO event. By contrast, when ENSO and SIOD are in the same phase (e.g., El Niño and a positive SIOD or La Niña and a negative SIOD), the southern Africa climate impacts during DJFM are minimal.
  • Source:
    J. Hydrometeor. (2017) 18 (9): 2407–2424
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