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Open AccessArticle

Did ERA5 Improve Temperature and Precipitation Reanalysis over East Africa?

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), 14473 Potsdam, Germany
CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), East Africa, P.O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa 1000, Ethiopia
NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, P.O. Box 22, 5838 Bergen, Norway
Canadian Network for Regional Climate and Weather Processes, ESCER Center, University of Quebec at Montreal, 201 President-Kennedy Avenue, Montreal, QC H2X 3Y7, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(9), 996;
Received: 5 August 2020 / Revised: 5 September 2020 / Accepted: 14 September 2020 / Published: 17 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Meteorology)
Reanalysis products are often taken as an alternative solution to observational weather and climate data due to availability and accessibility problems, particularly in data-sparse regions such as Africa. Proper evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses, however, should not be overlooked. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of ERA5 reanalysis and to document the progress made compared to ERA-interim for the fields of near-surface temperature and precipitation over Africa. Results show that in ERA5 the climatological biases in temperature and precipitation are clearly reduced and the representation of inter-annual variability is improved over most of Africa. However, both reanalysis products performed less well in terms of capturing the observed long-term trends, despite a slightly better performance of ERA5 over ERA-interim. Further regional analysis over East Africa shows that the representation of the annual cycle of precipitation is substantially improved in ERA5 by reducing the wet bias during the rainy season. The spatial distribution of precipitation during extreme years is also better represented in ERA5. While ERA5 has improved much in comparison to its predecessor, there is still demand for improved products with even higher resolution and accuracy to satisfy impact-based studies, such as in agriculture and water resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: ERA5; ERA-interim; reanalysis; Africa; precipitation; near-surface temperature ERA5; ERA-interim; reanalysis; Africa; precipitation; near-surface temperature
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Gleixner, S.; Demissie, T.; Diro, G.T. Did ERA5 Improve Temperature and Precipitation Reanalysis over East Africa? Atmosphere 2020, 11, 996.

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