Space-Time Variability of the Rainfall over Sahel: Observation of a Latitudinal Sharp Transition of the Statistical Properties

Sy, Abdoulaye ; Duroure, Christophe ; Baray, Jean-Luc ; Gour, Yahya ; Van Baelen, Jol ; Diop, Bouya

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The rain statistics of 0-45 N area including equatorial, Sahelian, and mid-latitude regions, are studied using the probability distributions of the duration of rainy and dry events. Long time daily data set from ground measurements and satellite observations of rain fields are used. This technique highlights a sharp latitudinal transition of the statistics between equatorial and all other regions (Sahel, mid-latitude). The probability distribution of the 8 S to 8 N latitude band shows a large-scale organization with a slow decreasing (power law decrease) distributions for the time and space size of rain events. This observation is in agreement with a scaling, or macro turbulent, behavior of the equatorial regions rain fields. For the Sahelian and mid-latitude regions, our observations are clearly not in agreement with this behavior. They show that the largest rain systems have a limited time and space size (well described with a decreasing exponential distribution). For these non-equatorial regions it is possible to define a local characteristic duration and a characteristic horizontal size of the large rain events. These characteristics time and space scales of observed mesoscale convective systems could be a sensible indicator for the detection of the possible trend of rain distribution properties due to anthropogenic influence.
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