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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015, Article ID 935431, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/935431
Research Article

Assessing the Capabilities of Three Regional Climate Models over CORDEX Africa in Simulating West African Summer Monsoon Precipitation

Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, Federal University of Technology, PMB 704, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria

Received 26 January 2015; Revised 24 April 2015; Accepted 11 May 2015

Academic Editor: Stephen J. Colucci

Copyright © 2015 A. A. Akinsanola 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.

Abstract

This study evaluates the ability of three Regional Climate Models (RCMs) used in Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) to simulate the characteristics of rainfall pattern during the West Africa Summer Monsoon from 1998 to 2008. The seasonal climatology, annual rainfall cycles, and wind fields of the RCMs output were assessed over three homogenous subregions and validated using precipitation data from eighty-one (81) ground observation stations and TRMM satellite data. Furthermore, the ability of the RCMs to simulate response to El Nino and La Nina events was assessed. Results show that two of the RCMs (RCA and REMO) simulated the main features of the rainfall climatology and associated dynamics over the three subregions (Guinea Coast, Savannah, and Sahel) of West Africa. The RCMs also capture the African Easterly Jet (AEJ) and Tropical Easterly Jet (TEJ) with little variations in position and intensity. Analysis shows significant biases in individual models depending on subregion and season under consideration which may be attributed to strong cyclonic circulation observed at 850 mb pressure level. In general, the study shows RCA and REMO fairly simulate West Africa rainfall adequately and can therefore be used for the assessment of West African Summer Monsoon and future climate projections.