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International Journal of Geophysics
Volume 2012, Article ID 748921, 12 pages
Review Article

Review of Recent Developments and the Future Prospective in West African Atmosphere/Land Interaction Studies

1Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
3Meteo-France, CNRM, Toulouse, France
4Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8BB, UK

Received 29 June 2011; Accepted 3 January 2012

Academic Editor: Andrea Sealy

Copyright © 2012 Yongkang Xue 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.


This paper reviews West African land/atmosphere interaction studies during the past decade. Four issues are addressed in this paper: land data development, land/atmosphere interactions at seasonal-interannual scales, mesoscale studies, and the future prospective. The development of the AMMA Land Surface Model Intercomparison Project has produced a valuable analysis of the land surface state and fluxes which have been applied in a number of large-scale African regional studies. In seasonal-interannual West African climate studies, the latest evidence from satellite data analyses and modeling studies confirm that the West African region has a climate which is particularly sensitive to land surface processes and there is a strong coupling between land surface processes and regional climate at intraseasonal/seasonal scales. These studies indicate that proper land surface process representations and land status initialization would substantially improve predictions and enhance the predictability of West African climate. Mesoscale studies have revealed new understanding of how soil moisture heterogeneity influences the development of convective storms over the course of the diurnal cycle. Finally, several important issues regarding the future prospective are briefly addressed.