Upper Tropospheric Water Vapor Transport from Indian to Sahelian Regions

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

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We present a study of upper tropospheric westward transport of air masses coming from the Indian monsoon zone over the period 1998-2008. The objective is to characterize upper tropospheric transport of water vapor from the Indian to Sahelian regions, and to improve the understanding of the dynamical mechanisms that govern water vapor variations in West Africa and the interconnections between India and the Sahel, focusing on the direct role of the Indian monsoon region on Sahel tropospheric water vapor and precipitation. The calculations of forward trajectories with LACYTRAJ (LACY TRAJectory code) and humidity fluxes show that a substantial part (40 to 70% at 300 hPa) of trajectories coming from the upper troposphere of the monsoon region crossed the Sahelian region in a few days (3-14 days), and water vapor fluxes connecting these two regions are established when the Indian monsoon begins at latitudes higher than 15 N in its south-north migration. The intensity and orientation of water vapor fluxes are related to the tropical easterly jet, but they are from the east above the high convection zones. Between 1998 and 2008, these fluxes between the 500-300 hPa pressure levels are associated with precipitation in Sahel only if they are from the east and with an intensity exceeding 8 kg(ms)−1.
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