Surface response to rain events throughout the West African monsoon

Lohou, F.; Kergoat, L.; Guichard, F.; Boone, A.; Cappelaere, B.; Cohard, J.-M.; Demarty, J.; Galle, S.; Grippa, M.; Peugeot, C.; Ramier, D.; Taylor, C.M. ORCID:; Timouk, F.. 2014 Surface response to rain events throughout the West African monsoon. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14 (8). 3883-3898.

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This study analyses the response of the continental surface to rain events, taking advantage of the long-term near-surface measurements over different vegetation types at different latitudes, acquired during the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) by the AMMA-CATCH observing system. The simulated surface response by nine land surface models involved in AMMA Land Model Intercomparison Project (ALMIP), is compared to the observations. The surface response, described via the evaporative fraction (EF), evolves in two steps: the immediate surface response (corresponding to an increase of EF occurring immediately after the rain) and the surface recovery (characterized by a decrease of EF over several days after the rain). It is shown that, for all the experimental sites, the immediate surface response is mainly dependent on the soil moisture content and the recovery period follows an exponential relationship whose rate is strongly dependent on the vegetation type (from 1 day over bare soil to 70 days over forest) and plant functional type (below and above 10 days for annual and perennial plants, respectively). The ALMIP model ensemble depicts a broad range of relationships between EF and soil moisture, with the worst results for the drier sites (high latitudes). The land surface models tend to simulate a realistic surface recovery for vegetated sites, but a slower and more variable EF decrease is simulated over bare soil than observed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 2 - Biogeochemistry and Climate System Processes > BGC - 2.3 - Determine land-climate feedback processes to improve climate model predictions
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Reynard
ISSN: 1680-7316
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - Official URL provides full text
Additional Keywords: AMMA, convective initiation
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Related URLs:
Date made live: 22 Apr 2014 12:01 +0 (UTC)

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