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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 11 | Copyright

Special issue: Drought forecasting and warning

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 4311-4323, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-18-4311-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 03 Nov 2014

Research article | 03 Nov 2014

Simulating the connections of ENSO and the rainfall regime of East Africa and the upper Blue Nile region using a climate model of the Tropics

M. A. H. Zaroug1,2,5, F. Giorgi1, E. Coppola1, G. M. Abdo3, and E. A. B. Eltahir4 M. A. H. Zaroug et al.
  • 1International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Earth System Physics, Trieste, Italy
  • 2Dinder Centre for Environmental Research, Khartoum, Sudan
  • 3University of Khartoum, Faculty of Engineering, Water Research Centre, Khartoum, Sudan
  • 4Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 5The Hydraulics Research Center, Medani, Sudan

Abstract. We simulate the observed statistical relationship between ENSO and the rainfall regime of the upper Blue Nile using the tropical-band version of the regional climate model RegCM4 (or Reg-TB). An ensemble of nine simulations for the 28-year period 1982–2009 is completed to investigate the role of ENSO in modulating rainfall over the upper Blue Nile catchment. Reg-TB shows a good skill in simulating the climatology of temperature, outgoing long-wave radiation patterns as well as related atmospheric circulation features during the summer season (i.e. the rainy season over the Blue Nile catchment). The model also succeeds in reproducing the observed negative correlation between Pacific SST and rainfall anomalies over the Blue Nile catchment, and in particular the association of droughts over the Blue Nile with El Niño events that start in April–June. We thus propose that observations and model forecasts of Pacific SST during this season could be used in seasonal forecasting of summer rainfall over the upper Blue Nile region.

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