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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2014, Article ID 960924, 15 pages
Research Article

A Numerical Investigation of the Precipitation over Lake Victoria Basin Using a Coupled Atmosphere-Lake Limited-Area Model

Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

Received 18 May 2014; Revised 5 August 2014; Accepted 6 August 2014; Published 15 September 2014

Academic Editor: Richard Anyah

Copyright © 2014 Xia Sun et al. 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.


By using a coupled atmosphere-lake model, which consists of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and the Princeton Ocean Model (POM), the present study generated realistic lake surface temperature (LST) over Lake Victoria and revealed the prime importance of LST on the precipitation pattern over the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB). A suite of sensitivity experiments was conducted for the selection of an optimal combination of physics options including cumulus, microphysics, and planetary boundary layer schemes for simulating precipitation over the LVB. The WRF-POM coupled system made a great performance on simulating the expected LST, which is featured with eastward temperature gradient as in the real bathymetry of the lake. Under thorough examination of diagnostic analysis, a distinguished diurnal phenomenon has been unveiled. The precipitation mainly occurs during the nocturnal peak between midnight and early in the morning, which is associated with the strong land breeze circulation, when the lake temperature is warmer than the adjacent land. Further exploration of vertical velocity, surface divergence pattern, and maximum radar reflectivity confirms such conjecture. The time-longitude analysis of maximum radar reflectivity over the entire lake also shows a noticeable pattern of dominating westward propagation.