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Climatology of the Mascarene High and Its Influence on Weather and Climate over Southern Africa

1
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Zululand, Kwa-Dlangezwa 3886, South Africa
2
Department of Geography and Geo-Information Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa
3
Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark 1900, South Africa
4
Research & Development Division, South African Weather Service, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Climate 2020, 8(7), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8070086
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 28 March 2020 / Accepted: 29 March 2020 / Published: 7 July 2020
Globally, subtropical circulation in the lower troposphere is characterized by anticyclones over the oceans. Subtropical anticyclones locate over subtropical belts, modulating weather and climate patterns in those regions. The Mascarene High is an anticyclone located over the Southern Indian Ocean and has a vital role in weather and climate variability over Southern Africa. The warm Western Indian Ocean is a major source of moisture for the subcontinent also permitting tropical cyclone genesis. In this study, we review the dynamics of the Mascarene High, its interactions with the ocean, and its impact on weather and climate over Southern Africa. We also review studies on the evolution of subtropical anticyclones in a future warmer climate. The links between SST modes over the Indian Ocean and the strengthening and weakening of the Mascarene High have been demonstrated. One important aspect is atmospheric blocking due to the Mascarene High, which leads to anomalous rainfall and temperature events over the subcontinent. Blocking leads to landfall of tropical cyclones and slow propagation of cut-off lows resulting in severe weather and flooding over the subcontinent. Understanding how expansion of the Mascarene High due to warming will alter trade winds and storm tracks and change the mean climate of Southern Africa is crucial. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mascarene High; Southern Africa; subtropical anticyclones; South Indian Ocean Mascarene High; Southern Africa; subtropical anticyclones; South Indian Ocean
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Xulu, N.G.; Chikoore, H.; Bopape, M.-J.M.; Nethengwe, N.S. Climatology of the Mascarene High and Its Influence on Weather and Climate over Southern Africa. Climate 2020, 8, 86.

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