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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2012, Article ID 953853, 8 pages
Research Article

Relationship of Sahel Precipitation and Atmospheric Centers of Action

1School for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5000, USA
2Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

Received 4 May 2012; Accepted 6 September 2012

Academic Editor: Youmin Tang

Copyright © 2012 Sultan Hameed and Nicole Riemer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The dynamics associated with drought in the Sahel have attracted considerable attention in the recent literature. This paper evaluates Sahel precipitation using the paradigm of the atmospheric centers of action, that is, the extended semipermanent highs and lows that dominate regional circulations and are evident in sea level pressure patterns. We find that Sahel precipitation is significantly influenced by changes in the Azores High and the South Asia Low. Specifically, about 50 percent of the variance of July to September rainfall over the Sahel is explained by changes in the Azores High Longitude position and South Asia Low pressure. In contrast, the contribution of the Southern Oscillation to Sahel precipitation is smaller in comparison. Results presented in this paper suggest that a key test for a climate model in simulating variability of Sahel rainfall is the accuracy with which the model simulates the dynamics of South Asia Low and the Azores High.