On the role of aerosol radiative effect in the wet season onset timing over the Congo rainforest during boreal autumn.

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Date: Aug. 31, 2021
From: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics(Vol. 21, Issue 17)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 279 words

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Abstract :

The boreal summer dry season length is reported to have been increasing in the last 3 decades over the Congo rainforest, which is the second-largest rainforest in the world. In some years, the wet season in boreal autumn starts early, while in others it arrives late. The mechanism behind such a change in the wet season onset date has not been investigated yet. Using multi-satellite data sets, we discover that the variation in aerosols in the dry season plays a major role in determining the subsequent wet season onset. Dry season aerosol optical depth (AOD) influences the strength of the southern African easterly jet (AEJ-S) and, thus, the onset of the wet season. Higher AOD associated with a higher dust mass flux reduces the net downward shortwave radiation and decreases the surface temperature over the Congo rainforest region, leading to a stronger meridional temperature gradient between the rainforest and the Kalahari Desert as early as in June. The latter, in turn, strengthens the AEJ-S, sets in an early and a stronger easterly flow, and leads to a stronger equatorward convergence and an early onset of the wet season in late August to early September. The mean AOD in the dry season over the region is strongly correlated (r=0.7) with the timing of the subsequent wet season onset. Conversely, in low AOD years, the onset of the wet season over the Congo basin is delayed to mid-October.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A673836546