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On Tanzania’s Precipitation Climatology, Variability, and Future Projection

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Department of Plants, Soils and Climate, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
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Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
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College of Ocean and Meteorology, Guangdong Ocean University, Zhanjiang 524088, Guangdong, China
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Utah Climate Center, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Climate 2020, 8(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8020034
Received: 30 December 2019 / Revised: 7 February 2020 / Accepted: 18 February 2020 / Published: 20 February 2020
We investigate historical and projected precipitation in Tanzania using observational and climate model data. Precipitation in Tanzania is highly variable in both space and time due to topographical variations, coastal influences, and the presence of lakes. Annual and seasonal precipitation trend analyses from 1961 to 2016 show maximum rainfall decline in Tanzania during the long rainy season in the fall (March–May), and an increasing precipitation trend in northwestern Tanzania during the short rainy season in the spring (September–November). Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis applied to Tanzania’s precipitation patterns shows a stronger correlation with warmer temperatures in the western Indian Ocean than with the eastern-central Pacific Ocean. Years with decreasing precipitation in Tanzania appear to correspond with increasing sea surface temperatures (SST) in the Indian Ocean, suggesting that the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) may have a greater effect on rainfall variability in Tanzania than the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) does. Overall, the climate model ensemble projects increasing precipitation trend in Tanzania that is opposite with the historical decrease in precipitation. This observed drying trend also contradicts a slightly increasing precipitation trend from climate models for the same historical time period, reflecting challenges faced by modern climate models in representing Tanzania’s precipitation. View Full-Text
Keywords: East Africa; Tanzania; climatology; rainfall variability; trend analysis; empirical orthogonal functions; Indian Ocean; El Niño-Southern Oscillation; projection East Africa; Tanzania; climatology; rainfall variability; trend analysis; empirical orthogonal functions; Indian Ocean; El Niño-Southern Oscillation; projection
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Borhara, K.; Pokharel, B.; Bean, B.; Deng, L.; Wang, S.-Y.S. On Tanzania’s Precipitation Climatology, Variability, and Future Projection. Climate 2020, 8, 34.

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